The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) public service hired an independent consultant to review its CEO compensation after President Donald Trump called it “ridiculously overpaid.”
TVA – which is a federal company responsible for power generation, flood control and economic development in Tennessee and parts of several neighboring states – said it would hire a new consultant to review compensation of its CEO, Jeff Lyash.
The state-owned company engaged Erin Bass-Goldberg of FW Cook – a New York-based executive compensation consultancy – to conduct the assessment, which is expected to be completed before the TVA board meeting in November.
Lyash’s pay was $ 8.1 million in the first six months of 2020, making him the highest-paid federal employee. VAT, however, does not use taxpayers’ money and relies almost exclusively on utility charges for electricity.
The TVA CEO’s total compensation was $ 15.1 million in 2019, split between Lyash and his predecessor Bill Johnson.
The TVA Act, which established the company in 1933 as part of FDR’s New Deal program, requires its compensation to be competitive with other large utilities. TVA said its executive pay is in the bottom quartile of large utilities.
Last month, President Trump demanded that CEO Jeff Lyash be replaced and that the job’s salary be capped at $ 500,000.
VAT came into President Trump’s sights in July when he saw an advertisement funded by US Tech Workers, a nonprofit focused on protecting tech jobs in the United States. The television commercial highlighted the company’s plan to outsource nearly 200 internal IT jobs to companies based in foreign countries.
Trump in August fired the chairman of the board of directors of TVA, as well as another member of the board of directors. He also invited VAT IT staff who have reportedly lost their jobs to a high-profile White House rally.
“Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board of directors,” Trump said at the meeting. “If you betray American workers, then you’ll hear two simple words: ‘You’re fired.’ “
TVA, with its fists in full swing, quickly backed down to preserve union jobs and cancel its outsourcing contracts. The contractors included Accenture and Capgemini, which are among the top ten applicants for H1-B foreign tech worker visas. H1-B visa holders make up around 10% of the national IT workforce, with the vast majority of the 600,000 visas held by Indian and Chinese workers.
According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, companies using H1B visas receive a discount of up to 34% off the market rate for software developers.