Coal Industry Paid Lavish Executive Bonuses as Companies Collapsed FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Benjamin Storrow for the Casper (Wyo.) Star Tribune:In 2011, the coal industry went on a shopping spree. China’s economy was humming, and there seemed no limit to the amount of coal the country’s steel mills could consume. America’s coal companies, sensing an opportunity, rushed to acquire mines that produced the metallurgical coal essential to steel fabrication.Arch Coal paid $3.4 billion cash for the International Coal Group. Peabody Energy plunked down $5 billion for a majority stake in Australia’s MacArthur Coal. And Alpha Natural Resources shelled out $7.1 billion for Massey Energy, a metallurgical miner based in Appalachia.Executives at the three firms were handsomely rewarded in the following years. The three companies paid their respective management teams a combined $186 million in stock awards, incentives and other forms of compensation between 2012 and 2014, according to a Star-Tribune review of the firms’ financial filings.Their companies did not benefit to the same degree. Alpha, Arch and Peabody have failed to record an annual profit since 2011. Two of the firms, Alpha and Arch, are now in bankruptcy, and Peabody may soon join them.The story of their demise is now well-known. Chinese demand faltered, metallurgical coal prices collapsed and American mining firms watched as the domestic market for thermal coal contracted, decimated by cheap natural gas.But executives’ lavish pay packages, and the acquisitions that preceded them, are now drawing increased criticism as mining firms move to cut payroll, reduce retiree benefits and unload old debts.Peabody and Arch laid off a total of 460 miners at their North Antelope Rochelle and Black Thunder mines on the same day last month. The companies have not said how much the cuts will save. But based on the average annual coal miner’s wage of $82,000, the layoffs would save the pair around $37 million in annual wages, or 84 percent of the $44 million Peabody and Arch paid their executives teams in 2014.Alpha is seeking to cut retiree benefits for some 4,580 nonunion miners and their spouses. That move is expected to save $3 million annually, or about 14 percent of the $20.8 million Alpha paid its management in 2014.“The behavior of these executives seems to me pretty outrageous. They could see the handwriting on the wall,” said Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C. “The numbers are there. They started paying themselves out way back in 2012 or early 2013 when the numbers were turning.”The coal industry is hardly alone in offering its executives generous compensation. CEO pay at America’s largest firms grew by 997 percent, adjusting for inflation, between 1978 and 2014, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank.But the nature of the coal industry sets the compensation industry executives received apart, observers say. The mining sector is cyclical. Fortunes rise and fall with commodity prices. And coal executives should have recognized they were entering a metallurgical market at or near its height, critics argue.Peabody paid its top executive accordingly. Boyce’s total compensation was $9.5 million in 2012, $10.8 million in 2013 and almost $11 million in 2014, according to filings with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission.Arch, like Peabody, has continued to hand out bonuses to its executives in recent months. Seven Arch executives, including Eaves, Drexler and Lang, received about $8 million in bonuses three days before the company filed for bankruptcy in January, according to the Wall Street Journal. Eaves received $2.78 million on Jan. 8, while Lang and Drexler collected $1.75 million and $1.17 million respectively.Alpha Natural Resource in January submitted a request in bankruptcy court to pay its executive team up to $14.8 million in bonuses. The additional compensation, which is contingent on Alpha’s financial performance, was needed to address a decrease in executive pay and to navigate a complexities of bankruptcy, the company said.Alpha later reduced the request to $11.9 million — an amount ultimately approved by a federal bankruptcy judge. Alpha has recorded the biggest losses of the three firms analyzed for this story. The company lost $4.4 billion between 2012 and 2014. Bankruptcy filings for 2015 put its losses for that year at $1.3 billion.And like its peers, Alpha rewarded its executives handsomely since its $7.1 billion purchase of Massey Energy. The company paid its management team about $62 million between 2012 and 2014. The value of the company, meanwhile, plummeted. When Alpha released its restructuring plan last month, it set a minimum bid for the sale of its most productive mines. The sum was $500 million.As coal company profits fell, mining firms rewarded executives handsomely
Leading by one goal against North Carolina on April 22, 2017, then-junior Notre Dame attack Mikey Wynne patiently waited near the net.With a flurry of Tar Heels defenders surrounding him, he watched calmly as his teammate, then senior midfielder Sergio Perkovic, swam move to separate from the Tar Heels defending him. Wynne, noticing the opportunity for a possible attack, moved slightly toward Perkovic. The bait worked; the UNC defender took a step forward, to cover the passing lane while Wynne slid back, faking out the entire Tar Heels defense. Perkovic slung the ball to Wynne, who slotted away his second goal of five on the day.Ever since his freshman season, Notre Dame senior captain Wynne has taken on a large offensive role for the Irish. The Maryland native totaled over 30 points in each of his first three years. Now as a senior, he directs the team on and off the field. In seven games this season Wynne has poured in 13 goals, tying with Syracuse attack Brendan Bomberry. On Saturday, the two will play at opposite ends when No. 7 Notre Dame (5-2, 1-0 ACC) takes on No. 10 Syracuse (4-3, 2-0 ACC) in the Carrier Dome.“I always have looked up to (former Notre Dame seniors) like Jimmy Marlatt, Jack Near, and Conor Doyle for examples to how to lead,” he said. “I just want to be the best example for the guys younger than me.”Entering college in 2013, Wynne was not afraid. He had been prepared for intense competition since a young age.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWynne grew up in a family with three older brothers, all of whom played lacrosse. The Wynne brothers routinely practiced in his backyard. Whether it was two-on-one, horse, or shooting drills, Wynne’s brothers pushed him to get better, he said.As he grew older, his preparation with his family translated into success. In his final two seasons of high school, he totaled 141 goals and 45 assists. He captained St. Paul’s (Maryland) School in his senior season to the championship game of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs.“I learned the game at a quick rate,” he said. “I always have played for coaches who played the game so that helped a lot.”In his first game for ND, Wynne totaled six goals in a 14-12 win over Georgetown. He followed that up with a four-goal performance the next game against Michigan. He ended his first season with 33 goals and four assists.To the other Irish players, his success was a result of his work in the pre-season.“The way he played early on was great to see,” former Notre Dame midfielder Near said, “We had seen him play well all throughout fall so I don’t think it was really that surprising when the season came around.”During his freshman season, it was obvious to most on the team that Wynne had natural leadership qualities, Near said.As he progressed throughout college, he grew more into that commanding role.“He does more things now with distributing the ball and understanding the flow of the offense,” Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan said. “Now, he’s capable of of doing a lot of other things as well. His game has continued to evolve as he’s matured.”Now, his job is to set the tone for the next generation of Fighting Irish lacrosse players, just like the upperclassmen did for him.“As a captain, I get to represent all the guys before me who were in my position,” Wynne said. Comments Published on March 29, 2018 at 1:30 pm Contact Adam: [email protected] | @_adamhillman Facebook Twitter Google+
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