It was a safe bet that Cerner Corp. would once again lead the The Stars rankings as the regions top-performing public company. Cerner, the nations second-largest company that helps hospitals and doctors offices convert paper files into computerized medical records, is in a sweet spot. Other top-ranked companies here do business in areas that have an edge: energy, rail transit and online government services.
The already-hefty pay packages of many public-company executives bulged last year, thanks to higher values of their company stocks. Million-dollar base salaries as paid to Cerner Corp. CEO Neal Patterson (pictured) and Waddell & Reed Financial CEO Hank Herrmann are only the beginning. For most of the bigger-company CEOs, stock awards, options and non-equity incentive compensation dwarf their base pay.
Here’s basic information on the five top-ranked companies and others in economic “sweet spots.”
We lost two companies through mergers and two that stopped filing financial results publicly. Luckily, we added two new companies.
Most Star 40 companies’ shares are doing well this year. A strong start by H&R Block Inc. stock and a pending merger at Sprint Nextel Corp. promise to rattle future Star 40 rankings.
Cerner Corp., our top company this year, is making quite a name for itself in records. As in record revenues, record earnings, record market value. It continues to break new ground as it thrives in helping the health care industry adopt electronic recordkeeping. The push for digital medical records stems from federal requirements on hospitals and clinics to modernize if they want to qualify for financial incentives.
The Star 50* universe grows a little darker.
Theres a year-after-year pattern in what the regional public companies paid their chief executives.
Next year’s Star 50* contenders already are flexing their financial muscles. The early leaders rank prominently in the accompanying chart.
The Star 50* formula focuses on business basics, using yardsticks that measure any public enterprise’s success. This year’s rankings mark the 12th year under our current method.