Steel Industry Executives See Big Payouts

The chief executive officers at both United States Steel Corp. and International Steel Group Inc. cashed out company shares for checks worth $34.8 million and $40.1 million, respectively.

That’s on top of annual salary.

Thomas Usher, who stepped down as chief executive at U.S. Steel in September, made nearly $46 million, which on top of exercised options, includes a $825,225 salary, a bonus of $3 million, a retention bonus of $3 million, and another $2.7 million as part of a consultation agreement.

In SEC documents filed Thursday, ISG reported that its president and chief executive, Rodney Mott, exercised options worth more than $40 million on top of his salary of $650,000, and a nearly $2 million bonus.

Executives at both companies navigated deftly through a major consolidation in the industry that saw dozens of competitors collapse. At the same time, they worked new contracts with labor unions that strengthened long-term prospects for both companies and sent steelworkers home with bigger paychecks from profit-sharing.

‘These guys were putting in a lot of hours and a lot of hard work not so long ago and they were getting relatively little in terms of payouts,’ said Charles Bradford of Bradford Research/Soleil Securities in New York. ‘For some it was being in the right place at the right time, but the payouts are tied closely to what they’ve done.’

Similar payouts are likely for executives at Nucor Corp., which is expected to file documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission later this month outlining executive compensation.

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