Close this search box.
Close this search box.

CEOs of Privately Held Companies Expect a Modest 3.1% Increase in Median Total Cash Compensation

The median base salary is flat, but bonus expectations are up

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEGREENWICH, CT, November 4, 2015 – CEOs of privately held  companies received a median total compensation package of $360,000 in 2014, including base salary, bonus, benefits, new equity grants and equity gains, and expect total cash compensation to increase 3.1% this year, according to Chief Executive Research’s latest CEO and Senior Executive Compensation Report for Private Companies.

The median base salary was $250,000, a 2.8% increase for this cohort over the prior year, while the median bonus was $75,000, a 3.3% increase over the same year-ago period. Median cash compensation increased 2.9%, while CEOs in the 75th percentile saw a 4.8% increase.

Top quartile total CEO compensation was 81% above the median, while bottom quartile total compensation was 57% of the median.

CEOs, HR executives, boards of directors and investors/owners use Chief Executive’s private company executive compensation report to negotiate and support executive compensation packages and ensure that they are remaining competitive in the marketplace.

As one would expect, a CEO’s compensation is largely correlated to the size of the enterprise he or she leads. CEOs who run private companies with revenue between $1 billion and $10 billion earn nearly 10 times more than CEOs of companies with revenue under $2 million. The ratios vary, however, by compensation component. For instance, the median base salary for the larger company CEOs was 4.5 times greater than the CEOs of the companies with revenues under $2 million, while the gap in bonuses was 12 times greater.

“Lately, the pay packages of CEOs of large public companies have been getting a lot of attention from politicians, regulators and the media,” observed Wayne Cooper, Managing Director of Chief Executive Group. “However, little has been said about how the vast majority of CEOs are paid. There are more than 5.7 million companies in the U.S., but only 5,292 of them are publicly listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ exchanges—just 0.09 percent. So the data we present on private company compensation is far more relevant to the vast majority of CEOs and senior executives.”

Industry pay practices for CEOs varied significantly as well. Among companies with under $10 million in revenue, financial industry CEOs had the highest median compensation packages.

Among companies with over $100 million in revenue, tech firm CEOs had the highest median compensation packages.

Regional differences were also a factor—senior executive talent is more competitive (and portable) across markets than other positions—but CEOs and senior executives in major metro markets enjoyed richer median compensation packages than their colleagues in small and rural markets.

The report provides details on the salaries, bonuses, equity gains, benefits and perks of CEOs, Chairmen, Presidents, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, and heads of sales, marketing, human resources and  R&D—and how they vary by quartile along multiple dimensions including: company size, industry, type of ownership, geography, growth rate and level of profitability.

For more information or to purchase the report, click here.

About Chief Executive

Chief Executive Group publishes Chief Executive magazine (published since 1977)—the definitive source that CEOs turn to for insight and ideas that help increase their effectiveness and grow their business—and, including e-newsletters and online content, as well as conferences, roundtables and a peer network that enable top corporate officers to discuss key subjects and share their experiences within a community of peers. The Group publishes the CEO and Senior Executive Compensation Report annually, and facilitates the annual “CEO of the Year,” a prestigious honor bestowed upon an outstanding corporate leader, nominated and selected by a group of peers. Visit for more information.

Wayne Cooper
Managing Director
Chief Executive Group
[email protected]



  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.