Does Willis Lease Finance Corporation’s (NASDAQ:WLFC) CEO Salary Reflect Performance?

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Charlie Willis has been the CEO of Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC) since 1985. First, this article will compare CEO compensation with compensation at similar sized companies. Then we’ll look at a snap shot of the business growth. And finally we will reflect on how common stockholders have fared in the last few years, as a secondary measure of performance. This method should give us information to assess how appropriately the company pays the CEO.

View our latest analysis for Willis Lease Finance

How Does Charlie Willis’s Compensation Compare With Similar Sized Companies?

According to our data, Willis Lease Finance Corporation has a market capitalization of US$316m, and pays its CEO total annual compensation worth US$8.0m. (This is based on the year to December 2018). Notably, that’s an increase of 48% over the year before. We think total compensation is more important but we note that the CEO salary is lower, at US$1.1m. When we examined a selection of companies with market caps ranging from US$200m to US$800m, we found the median CEO total compensation was US$1.8m.

Thus we can conclude that Charlie Willis receives more in total compensation than the median of a group of companies in the same market, and of similar size to Willis Lease Finance Corporation. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the pay is too high. A closer look at the performance of the underlying business will give us a better idea about whether the pay is particularly generous.

You can see, below, how CEO compensation at Willis Lease Finance has changed over time.

NasdaqGM:WLFC CEO Compensation, June 14th 2019
NasdaqGM:WLFC CEO Compensation, June 14th 2019

Is Willis Lease Finance Corporation Growing?

Over the last three years Willis Lease Finance Corporation has grown its earnings per share (EPS) by an average of 60% per year (using a line of best fit). In the last year, its revenue is up 43%.

Overall this is a positive result for shareholders, showing that the company has improved in recent years. It’s great to see that revenue growth is strong, too. These metrics suggest the business is growing strongly. We don’t have analyst forecasts, but you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Has Willis Lease Finance Corporation Been A Good Investment?

Most shareholders would probably be pleased with Willis Lease Finance Corporation for providing a total return of 121% over three years. This strong performance might mean some shareholders don’t mind if the CEO were to be paid more than is normal for a company of its size.

In Summary…

We compared total CEO remuneration at Willis Lease Finance Corporation with the amount paid at companies with a similar market capitalization. As discussed above, we discovered that the company pays more than the median of that group.

Importantly, though, the company has impressed with its earnings per share growth, over three years. In addition, shareholders have done well over the same time period. So, considering this good performance, the CEO compensation may be quite appropriate. Whatever your view on compensation, you might want to check if insiders are buying or selling Willis Lease Finance shares (free trial).

If you want to buy a stock that is better than Willis Lease Finance, this free list of high return, low debt companies is a great place to look.

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.