Sardar Biglari is a busy man. He’s CEO of the Midwestern-based burger chain Steak ‘n Shake. It’s one of the many restaurants he’s invested in or has been invested in over the years. He’s also the editor-in-chief of Maxim Magazine, which he owns though his holding company Biglari Holdings, of which, of course, he is also the CEO. There’s also Biglari’s hedge fund, Biglari Capital: he’s also CEO of that. And according to the San Antonio Express, this all is simply scratching the surface. Here is man who, we assume, doesn’t spend much time fiddling around on Facebook.
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Needless to say, anyone with that many CEO titles is going to want to pocket some cash at the end of the year for his efforts. And apparently he does. His salary as CEO of Biglari Holdings is $900,000. But that wasn’t the number that has raised some eyebrows this past year. Biglari Holdings also reportedly paid an incentives package to Biglari Capital, a company Biglari alone owns, of $31.6 million, as shown in SEC filings. That would put Biglari’s total 2016 compensation package at $32.5 million. As Nation’s Restaurant News points out, “That’s more than the CEOs of McDonald’s Corp. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. earned last year. Combined.”
As we’ve all come to expect, these days, big CEO incentive packages aren’t really that uncommon. Still, Biglari’s compensation was labeled “peculiar” by one industry expert. “It’s extremely problematic for a CEO to be compensated through a very opaque mechanism like this,” Richard Clayton, research director for shareholder advocate CtW Investment Group, told the San Antonio Express. “In contrast to almost literally every other publicly traded company out there, this is an enormously opaque and difficult-to-understand set of compensation mechanisms.”
For the record, you can read Biglari’s incentive agreement on the Biglari Holding’s website. Though for anyone unfamiliar with documents like this, be warned that it’s going to be heavier than a steakburger and cheese fries. Maybe the problem is that the CEOs of McDonald’s and Chipotle simply aren’t working hard enough. Aren’t there any other companies they could simultaneously be CEOs of?