Corporations: A $90,000 Gesture

When should a corporate chief think about foregoing his $90,000-a-year salary? One occasion might be when he has to 1) face a meeting of shareholders whose onetime glamour stock has skipped six dividends in a row, 2) announce that sales have fallen from $81 million in the previous year to $33 million, and 3) report a $5,400,000 loss.

All of those sorry circumstances have befallen Asher J. Cole, 58, co-founder (in 1948) and chief executive of National Video Corp. The company is the Chicago TV tubemaker whose stock had been one of the darlings of the American Stock Exchange, rising...