After months of considering the compensation package paid to CPS Energy President and CEO Doyle Beneby amid reports that he was being recruited to leave San Antonio, the public utility's board voted unanimously to raise his base salary from $425,000 to $500,000, a 17.5% raise that will bring his total compensation market more in line with his peers across the country.
Beneby's base pay was retroactive to Feb. 1, the start of the utility's fiscal year. He also will receive $140,250 in annual incentive pay and the first of two $99,157 payments in long term incentive pay. A second payment of $99,157 will be paid next year. The incentive payments were awarded based on CPS Energy's achieving specific performance metrics with Beneby at the helm and the utility's drive to maintain long-term leadership stability.
Beneby will take home an additional $314,407 this year – technically fiscal year 2016 for CPS Energy, Feb. 1, 2015 through Jan. 31, 2016. Beneby's existing contract expires at the end of this fiscal year.
"When you compare Mr. Beneby's compensation to similar-sized, investor-owned and municipally owned utilities, the impact he's had in his five years here is almost immeasurable," stated Board Chair Nora Chávez in a prepared statement passed out to media and stakeholders after the meeting.
Whether or not it's enough to keep him in San Antonio is unknown. Beneby is currently in London representing CPS Energy at the Dentons Global Energy Summit and could not be reached by deadline. Chávez did confirm in a Wednesday statement to the Rivard Report that Beneby has a job offer outside San Antonio, which prompted trustees to move the board meeting scheduled for Monday, April 27 to today.
Though the incentive pay boost is procedurally out of the ordinary, said CPS Energy Vice President of Public Affairs and Brand Management Jenna Saucedo, this time of year is typical for the company to administer executive incentive pay. "We run through audited financials (every year to) look at performance metrics and we make a call.”
The board expects to be able to vote on a new contract to offer Beneby in the fall, and are "working expeditiously" on negotiations, Saucedo said, which are "making progress."
Board trustees went into an hour-long executive session Wednesday morning to discuss different compensation options, but the board has been considering such an incentive package for months.
"Today's Board vote is a direct result of multiple years of stellar corporate performance. Mr. Beneby has done an outstanding job in leading CPS Energy. The facts, stats and his performance speak for themselves," stated Chávez. "Our financial stability, competitive rates, electric service reliability and safety performance remain at the top-tier of our industry. Also, Mr. Beneby's vision of the innovative New Energy Economy partnerships have brought clean technology and economic development to our community with a local impact of more than 600 jobs created to-date and an economic investment of more than $800 million annually, not to mention our ranking as the sixth leading solar producer in the country."
Click here to read more about Beneby's tenure at CPS Energy.
The CPS Energy board consists of four appointed members, one from each geographic quadrant of the city, and the mayor, currently Ivy Taylor, serves in an ex officio role, reflecting the fact that the utility is a municipal asset and 14% of its gross revenues flow into the City’s general fund each year. The other trustees include Vice Chair Edward Kelley, the retired president and CEO of USAA Real Estate; Dr. Homero Guevara, an economics professor at Northwest Vista College; and Derrick Howard, the executive director of Freeman Coliseum.
"I feel confident in the process and the objective nature of the metrics that have been used," Taylor said during the meeting. "We have in Mr. Beneby an excellent leader."
Those metrics include CPS Energy's safety, customer satisfaction, environmental considerations, financial performance, electric reliability, and power plant reliability. For Beneby's annual incentive pay, he reached %66 percent of performance metrics, for long term incentive pay, he reached 93% – meaning 66 and 93% of half of his base pay ($140,250 and $198,314 respectively).
*Featured/top image: CPS Energy President and CEO Doyle Beneby. Courtesy photo.