CEO salaries are booming! Just ask anyone in the mainstream business press. Sigh. If only. Actually, our annual deep dive on C-Suite compensation, just completed, finds private company CEO pay has largely flatlined.
Median base salaries went from $244,000 in 2011 to just $250,000 in 2016. Bonuses, meanwhile, have edged up from $71,000 in 2011 to a projected $100,000 for 2017.
“Despite headlines that focus on the large and rapidly rising compensation packages of the CEOs of the largest public companies, the reality is that the vast majority of CEOs in the U.S. run small and mid-market privately owned companies—and most earn comfortable but not excessive salaries and bonuses,” says Wayne Cooper, executive chairman of Chief Executive Group, who runs the company’s annual survey.
Not everyone is stuck in the mud, however. In the top pay quartile, salaries jumped from $270,000 in 2011 to $350,000 in 2016 and are projected to hit $357,000 for 2017. Bonuses among the nation’s best-paid executives more than doubled over the period.
Still, for the vast majority of America’s company chieftains, there’s been little pay recovery in this recovery. “Most companies remain cautious and are keeping a lid on salary inflation for all employees,” says Cooper, “including those in the corner office.”
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