Some of the salary cuts that corporate execs took during the coronavirus pandemic are already being reversed

Patrons enter an Olive Garden Restaurant. The company's CEO is back to receiving his regular salary after pledging to cut his salary to $0 in April.Steve Helber/AP Photo
  • As the coronavirus pandemic began to ravage the economy, a number of executives across the country pledged to take pay cuts in an act of solidarity with struggling workers.
  • Some companies are already starting to reinstate that payment less than a quarter later, according to Fortune's Emma Hinchliffe.
  • Gene Lee, the CEO of Olive Garden's parent company Darden, said he would forgo his $1 million base salary in early April. As of early June, SEC filings showed that salary has already been reinstated.
  • Similarly, Ascena Retail Group, the company behind Ann Taylor and Loft, reinstated the base salaries for all of its executives, also per to SEC filings.
  • Ascena's filing noted that the pay was meant to "enable the company to retain and continue to motivate" its executives.
  • Base salaries are just one aspect of CEO compensation — meaning the initial act of forgoing a salary is often symbolic, and potentially largely inconsequential.
  • While some executives' base pay has been reinstated, other executives have been receiving extra equity amid the pandemic, further highlighting how complicated CEO compensation packages have become.
  • Meanwhile, 47 million Americans have filed for unemployment over the last 14 weeks. The National Bureau of Economic Research said the US fell into a recession in February.
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