Study underscores differences in pay at Chipotle

A new gauge of the disparity between a CEO’s compensation and the average pay of company workers finds Chipotle Mexican Grill to be second among all U.S. companies in the inequality of corner-office and frontline earnings.

The employment-research site Glassdoor found that Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells collected more than $28.9 million in pay and non-cash compensation last year, or 1,522 times the $19,000 that Chipotle workers averaged.

The only higher ratio was the CEO to worker pay of Discovery Communications, parent of the Discovery Channel and other media. The company paid CEO David Zaslav $156 million in 2014, compared with the average worker compensation of $80,000, according to Glassdoor.

The findings could stoke the debate over how to curb excessive CEO compensation. Among the proposals gaining favor is a requirement by the SEC that public companies compute and publish a ratio of CEO pay to average worker compensation, the metric used by Glassdoor.

Other advocates of curbing C-suite compensation have suggested giving shareholders a yea-or-nay vote on executives’ packages, an approach popularly known as say on pay.

Last year, Chipotle shareholders voted their disapproval of the compensation packages that had been suggested by the board for Ells and co-CEO Monty Moran. Although the vote was nonbinding, the company adjusted the packages.

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