Former toothpaste mogul behind Swiss CEO pay limits

Headline-grabbing news from Switzerland this week has its roots in a defunct toothpaste company.

According to an article in the Atlantic Wire, Thomas Minder -- the Swiss Parliament member who was behind the "fat cat initiative" limiting executive pay by large corporations recently approved by voters -- had an ax to grind after his family's herbal toothpaste business went down with the collapse of Swissair in 2006.

Minder's company had supplied Swissair with toothpaste for flight kits of sundries given to passengers and could not recover after the airline failed, according to the article. But amid a ruinous financial situation, Swissair CEO Mario Corti was still advanced his $10 million pay by the company just before it went under.

The new Swiss legislation levies harsh penalties for violations -- including fines and up to six years in jail -- and puts executive pay to a shareholder vote and even veto. In addition, under the new law, executives are expressly denied lavish payouts when they leave or join a company.

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