Executive perquisites - perks - are more common for chief executive officers (CEOs) than ever before. Ranging from personal use of the company car to free security systems for executives' homes, perks have long been used to transfer tax-free benefits to company executives. During recessions, when the extra dollars for a raise seem hard to come by, added compensation often takes the form of perquisites.
''There's no question that top management perquisite programs are now more widespread - and that the perk pool has become wider and deeper as more middle-management executives are granted this form of additional non-taxable compensation,'' says Edward T. Redling, an expert in executive compensation and president of the Wyatt Company's Executive Compensation Service, which recently completed a survey of 40 different types of perks granted to all levels of management in 465 companies.
Although he expects the trend to continue, Mr. Redling warns ''ballooning deficits could lead Congress to change the rules in the near future - which could affect the proliferation of perks.''
A company car for the CEO's personal use jumped in popularity from 67.7 percent of companies surveyed in 1981 to 80.0 percent in 1983. The number of companies providing CEOs with personal financial planning services has nearly doubled in the last six years.
The latest in executive perks? Some 3.9 percent of the companies surveyed provided personal computers for home use by CEOs and other executives, a practice included in the survey for the first time in 1983.