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Does Lee Enterprises, Incorporated's (NYSE:LEE) CEO Pay Reflect Performance?

Simply Wall St

Kevin Mowbray became the CEO of Lee Enterprises, Incorporated (NYSE:LEE) in 2016. First, this article will compare CEO compensation with compensation at similar sized companies. Next, we'll consider growth that the business demonstrates. Third, we'll reflect on the total return to shareholders over three years, as a second measure of business performance. This method should give us information to assess how appropriately the company pays the CEO.

Check out our latest analysis for Lee Enterprises

How Does Kevin Mowbray's Compensation Compare With Similar Sized Companies?

At the time of writing our data says that Lee Enterprises, Incorporated has a market cap of US$117m, and is paying total annual CEO compensation of US$1.4m. (This number is for the twelve months until September 2018). While we always look at total compensation first, we note that the salary component is less, at US$788k. We examined a group of similar sized companies, with market capitalizations of below US$200m. The median CEO total compensation in that group is US$479k.

As you can see, Kevin Mowbray is paid more than the median CEO pay at companies of a similar size, in the same market. However, this does not necessarily mean Lee Enterprises, Incorporated is paying too much. We can get a better idea of how generous the pay is by looking at the performance of the underlying business.

You can see, below, how CEO compensation at Lee Enterprises has changed over time.

NYSE:LEE CEO Compensation, August 6th 2019

Is Lee Enterprises, Incorporated Growing?

Lee Enterprises, Incorporated has reduced its earnings per share by an average of 9.4% a year, over the last three years (measured with a line of best fit). It saw its revenue drop -3.5% over the last year.

Sadly for shareholders, earnings per share are actually down, over three years. This is compounded by the fact revenue is actually down on last year. It's hard to argue the company is firing on all cylinders, so shareholders might be averse to high CEO remuneration. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Has Lee Enterprises, Incorporated Been A Good Investment?

With a total shareholder return of 1.5% over three years, Lee Enterprises, Incorporated has done okay by shareholders. But they probably wouldn't be so happy as to think the CEO should be paid more than is normal, for companies around this size.

In Summary...

We compared the total CEO remuneration paid by Lee Enterprises, Incorporated, and compared it to remuneration at a group of similar sized companies. We found that it pays well over the median amount paid in the benchmark group.

Neither earnings per share nor revenue have been growing sufficiently fast to impress us, over the last three years.

While shareholder returns are acceptable, they don't delight. So you may want to delve deeper, because we don't think the CEO pay is too low. If you think CEO compensation levels are interesting you will probably really like this free visualization of insider trading at Lee Enterprises.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.