Although the show is no longer running, the interest in wealthy people has not waned, but has only become more intense. Today, anyone and everyone whose has accumulated and acquired wealth becomes an instant celebrity. That includes entertainers, athletes, and entrepreneurs. The first two, entertainers and athletes have always been in the media spotlight. From the antics of Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, to Humphrey Bogart to Marilyn Monroe, the public was fascinated to delve into the private lives of these larger-than-life personalities.
It's true that some entrepreneurs, like William Randolph Hearst, were often in the news, often of their own making. But that was the exception to the rule. Most shunned the media, tending to be reclusive and uncomfortable with media intrusion. Not so today, as CEOs of large public companies see the value (read: shareholder value) into getting their names in the news as much as possible, if only to keep their companies in the minds of consumers. And, in some cases, to feed their narcissistic needs.
|No Stranger to Controversy: William Randolph Hearst, newspaper magnate.|
Photo Credit: US Library of Congress, 1910.
The triple-digit pay ratios originate in the mid-1990s, when CEOs first out-earned workers by a 100-to-1 ratio. Back in 1965, however, U.S. CEOs of major companies earned 24 times more than an average worker, hardly the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Then, a CEO was a high-paid manager, and little more.
Today, CEOs are superstars and super-rich. Here is a list of the top-paid CEOs in the U.S. (all figures in US dollars):
- Larry Ellison of Oracle: $1.84 billion
- Barry Diller of IAC/Interactive and Expedia Inc: $1.14 billion
- Ray Irani of Occidental Petroleum Corp: $857 million
- Steve Jobs of Apple: $749 million.
- Steve Schwarzman, CEO and co-founder of the Blackstone Group, a private-equity firm, whose public image is that of an over-reaching greedy rich man who believes that he deserves not only his wealth, but ought to receive acknowledgment as a wise man, to boot. Talk about extreme hubris. (see Slate.com.)
- Hewlett-Packard Co.’s Mark Hurd resigned as chief executive officer after an investigation found he had a personal relationship with a contractor who received numerous inappropriate payments from the company (see Bloomberg Business)
- Mark McInnes, CEO of Australia's premium department store brand David Jones, has resigned from his multimillion-dollar job after "unbecoming" behaviour involving a female staff member at two company functions (see The Australian)