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Perks Watch


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Want to know where some of your capital goes as a corporate shareholder?


Now that we’ve moved beyond 10K season and into proxy season, I thought some would like this new column. The idea was to have a site that focused intensely on perks during proxy season.


Perks Watch which will run as part of Dealbook in the NY Times.




This one would make me cringe, were I a shareholder of Stryker:


What does it say about the local medical community when the chief executive of a large medical technology company has to hop on the corporate jet and fly to another city to get an annual physical? That’s the situation at Stryker, based in Kalamazoo, Mich., which disclosed in its proxy that Stephen P. MacMillan, its chief executive and president, “traveled to a physical exam on the company aircraft.”


While the company didn’t disclose where Mr. MacMillan flew to for the exam or give a breakdown of either the cost of the flight or the exam, this was the second consecutive year that the executive flew out of town for a physical. That’s got to lead to some awkward moments at the Kalamazoo Country Club, another company-provided perk that Mr. MacMillan receives, when he runs into local doctors in the clubhouse.


Indeed, while the proxy statement notes that Stryker “believes that its perquisites practices are conservative,” the filing shows that top executives at the company got a wide range of perks last year.


Among them was an off-site planning meeting that spouses of several executives were allowed to attend. The cost of attendance for one Stryker executive, Andrew Fox-Smith, the president of the company’s international group, and his wife was $36,985, which seems like a pretty plush trip.


Granted, Mr. Fox-Smith is based in Hong Kong, so they had a long way to travel. As it happens, Stryker also pays for his housing and utilities, which cost $185,165 last year.

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