COMBAT PAY

MANY CORPORATE DIRECTORS, those people who boss the bosses, are getting double-digit pay hikes this year, the Conference Board reports. Some 41 percent of 928 companies it surveyed gave their outside directors pay boosts. Among financial companies, median annual pay climbed 15 percent, among manufacturing concerns 11 percent. This compared with negligible increases last year.

What's more, the directors got bigger increases than the people they ride herd on. Explains Jeremy Bacon, the organization's specialist in directorship practices: "The sturdy pay gains this year might be viewed as combat pay for directors who have survived takeover battles and other traumatic events."Some 88 percent of the companies provide directors with liability insurance in the performance of their duties, up from 85 percent last year. But there have been widespread declines in dollar limits, a result undoubtedly of the higher premiums companies now are required to pay.

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