McDonald's denies exec pay allegations

March 31, 2009 at 3:34 PM
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OAK BROOK, Ill., March 31 (UPI) -- U.S. fast-food chain McDonald's vowed it would fight allegations that it misrepresented executive pay in proxy filings, alleged in a whistle-blower lawsuit.

The restaurant company's former Senior Director of Compensation Lisa Bridges claimed in a suit that McDonald's "isolated, ostracized and ultimately terminated" her for "choosing the right path," when she questioned procedures concerning some of the $100,000 it paid for "home leave" trips and country club memberships for Tim Fenton, president of McDonald's operations in Asia, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

Bridges also said the company "disguised" more than $10 million paid to former President Mike Roberts, claiming the payments were part of salary and incentive compensations, the Tribune said.

McDonald's said in a statement the case had "absolutely no merit and the claims are baseless."

In an era in which executive compensation has become a catchword for greed in the corporate world, McDonald's said, "we will vigorously defend against these claims and we remain confident that the court will rule in our favor."

"Often with perks and severances it is not just about the dollar amount but about the impression it gives shareholders," said Paul Hodgson, a senior research associate with Corporate Library, Crain's Chicago Business reported.

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