Early Briefing: Executive Compensation

It's Monday, the day when the newspaper focuses on local business.

*Our annual executive compensation issue looks at who got what in an economic downturn. Although most financial firms saw their stocks wither, the industry's top executives continue to be among the best paid in the region. And while financial services companies were largely rolling back executive fringe benefits in 2007, that doesn't mean they were insignificant.

See who got the most in their fields, median salary, bonus and option awards, and which companies on our list were the top and bottom performers. We also have lists of top 100 executives by salary and the top 100 by total compensation.

*The National Venture Capital Association reported this month that disclosed second-quarter venture capital investment slid 15 percent from the same period of 2007, to $234 million.

Funding fluctuates from year to year, but this was only the latest piece of bad news that has venture capitalists and start-ups concerned about a pernicious chain reaction: The overall financial downturn is making it nearly impossible for venture-backed firms to go public and difficult for them to be bought at prices they consider fair. That is forcing venture capitalists to pony up more cash to keep the companies in their portfolio afloat. And as a result, they have less money to back even newer companies with new ideas.

But companies still got funding. Check out some that did.

*The Urban Alliance, a group of Washington area businesses that helps prepare about 150 D.C. public high school students each year for the professional world, held a commencement ceremony Thursday morning at George Washington University. The group has 80 area companies, including Bernstein Cos., Atlantic Media, CapitalSource, Clark Construction and XM Satellite Radio.

*Dulles International Airport is trying to speed things up for the single, experienced traveler who knows her way around a security checkpoint. The airport has introduced "Dulles Diamond," a two-lane security checkpoint next to Baggage Claim 7 for passengers who travel at least twice a month, have their shoes off, their liquids and gels properly packaged and their laptops out of the case.

*Habitat for Humanity International and the Calvert Foundation have launched a program that allows individuals to earn a return while investing in affordable housing. Anyone with $100 can buy a Community Investment Note backed by the Calvert Foundation. The foundation passes the money on to Habitat for Humanity at about a 3.5 percent interest rate. Habitat distributes the money to its affiliates at about the same rate. Initially, the program will be geared toward the U.S. market.

By Terri Rupar  |  July 28, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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