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]



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