Edison CEO’s Total Pay Doubles;

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John Bryson received $6 million in 2002. Activist says raise isn’t merited in wake of crisis.

The Los Angeles Times

Edison International, still struggling to shake off the ill effects of the energy crisis of 2000-01, paid Chairman and Chief Executive John Bryson $6 million in salary, bonus, stock and other compensation in 2002, up from $2.7 million the year before, the company disclosed Monday.

Much of the increase came from $3.4 million in stock and stock options granted under long-term incentive programs, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Edison International, the Rosemead-based parent of Southern California Edison. In 2001, Bryson received no such payments.

Bryson’s 2002 compensation included a 7.4% salary increase to $1.02 million from $950,000 in 2001. But Bryson’s bonus in 2002 declined 26% to $1 million from $1.35 million.

The CEO’s 2002 payout had $575,181 in other compensation, which included the value of company contributions to various benefits plans.

Seven other executives listed in the filing also received salary increases in 2002 and four got bigger bonuses than in the previous year. All received stock and options under the long-term incentive programs.

Consumer advocate Doug Heller of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights criticized the salary increases and bonuses granted to Bryson and other executives at a time when Edison customers continue to pay high rates to settle debts from the energy crisis.

“The executives at these companies, no matter how much they fail their consumers, they continue to pad their wallets,” Heller said.

Edison called Heller’s accusations “completely false.” In its filing, the company said committees of nonemployee directors for the parent company and its utility based executive compensation on the pay of executives at 11 other utilities, the stock performance of the company and the accomplishments of Edison executives.

The achievements included strong earnings at Southern California Edison, steering the utility through the energy crisis, reaching a settlement with the California Public Utilities Commission to pay off energy-crisis power debts, cost cutting, and restructuring and asset sales at Edison‘s subsidiary that builds and operates power plants around the world.

Edison stock fell 17 cents to $13.68 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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