AGL cuts CEO’s 2012 pay by 8 percent


AJC reporter Russell Grantham is tracking what Georgia’s public companies pay their top executives. Look for periodic news and trend stories in the weeks ahead, as well as up-to-date statistics, as Grantham pores through this year’s corporate proxy statements.

AGL Resources cut the pay of Chief Executive John Somerhalder II by 8 percent last year, to $4.6 million, as dropping natural gas prices caused by warm weather and the boom in U.S. natural gas production caused executives to miss their profit targets.

The Atlanta-based natural gas supplier owns Atlanta Gas Light.

AGL’s revenues and profits jumped significantly in 2012 as a result of the company’s $2.4 billion acquisition of Illinois-based gas utility Nicor in late 2011.

But the company’s board had set a higher hurdle for profits per share than 2012’s results. As a result, most top executives didn’t get annual bonuses last year that are usually a substantial portion of their pay.

In the wake of the 2007-09 financial crisis, big investors and federal lawmakers have increasingly pressured companies to tie executives’ pay to specific financial performance targets.

Somerhalder, 57, who has been the company’s CEO since 2006, last year was paid a $919,000 salary, $3.3 million in stock awards, and $63,388 in perks, according to AGL’s proxy statement filed Friday. His annual compensation also included an estimated $321,622 increase in the value of his pension.

Somerhalder’s higher pay packages in the previous two years had included a $420,700 bonus in 2011 and a $2 million bonus in 2010.

Also on Friday, Total System Services disclosed that it paid Chief Executive Philip Tomlinson just under $5 million in 2012, a 0.7 percent raise.

The Columbus-based electronic payments processor, which calls itself TSYS, had 11 percent higher profits last year, of $244 million. But increased competition has muted its profit and revenue growth since the 2007-09 recession.

Tomlinson’s 2012 pay included $1.7 million in salary and bonus, $3.3 million in stock and option awards, and $46,314 in perks.