After riding high for years on more than $90 to $100 oil, the value of stock-based compensation for the oil bosses who run major companies is sinking alongside crude prices. U.S. oil ended its first trading day in 2015 at $52.69 a barrel, less than half its peak in June and its lowest point in 5½ years.This year, executive compensation experts say, U.S. oil companies will likely have to defer bonuses and freeze or cut salaries for their top brass. Already, one high-paid energy executive is taking a 10 percent cut in his base salary.In some cases, pay reductions for the top brass will firm up balance sheets; in others, they will signal executives are taking the industry downturn seriously and are aligned with their shareholders’ interests, the advisers say. Thousands of stock options on the books now have no value at current share prices.Top executives are paid base salaries and cash bonuses, but the bulk of their compensation is often in stock options and awards.
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