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Albertsons' Johnson Among MSN's List of 'Overpaid' CEOs

NEW YORK -- Larry Johnston, c.e.o. of Boise-based Albertsons Inc. supermarket chain, was named one of the five "most outrageously overpaid CEOs" in an article Wednesday on MSN's Web site.

Pointing to compensation packages that were high while company stock prices remained low, the article called Johnston and the other chief executives "overpaid underachievers in executives suites."

"Shares of supermarket chain Albertsons fell 39 percent over the past four years," said MSN. "Despite this dismal record, Albertsons c.e.o. and chairman Larry Johnston collected a total of $76.2 million."

Burt P. Flickinger III, president of the New York-based retail consulting firm Strategic Research Group, derided the MSN article, saying Johnston is well worth his compensation. "You have to consider that Larry Johnston inherited an unprecedented number of problems from his predecessors," Flickinger was quoted as saying in a story on, the Idaho newspaper's Web site.

"He's done a very good job of building and stabilizing the business at a time when his major competitor, Safeway, was faltering," Flickinger said, adding that if he, "were Catherine Albertsons or the Albertsons Foundation or just an individual Albertsons shareholder, I would be very comfortable with Larry Johnston's compensation."

Johnston was listed fourth among five "overpaid" chief executives identified by MSN, which also singled out: Gary Smith, c.e.o. at Ciena, a network systems provider that, according to the MSN article, lost 93 percent of its shareholder value in the last four years while he collected $41.2 million in compensation; Jure Sola, c.e.o. and chairman at Sanmina-SCI Corp., an electronic equipment manufacturer, who was paid $26.4 million in the past four years while shares in Sanmina fell 78 percent; Scott McNealy, c.e.o., chairman and founder of computer network provider Sun Microsystems, who collected $13.1 million a year over the past four years as his shareholders lost 76 percent of their investment; and Peter Dolan, c.e.o. at Bristol-Myers Squibb, the global pharmaceutical company, whose compensation totaled $41 million over the past four years while his company's stock dropped by 48 percent.
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