Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Last Year’s Highest-Paid CEOs Didn’t Come from the Biggest Companies

Leaders earned a solid pay raise last year, though company size and total shareholder returns didn't always determine who got the biggest increase.

CEOs from some of America’s biggest companies earned an average compensation package of $16.6 million in 2016, up 7.1% from the year before, according to an analysis by executive data firm Equilar.

The heads of some of the country’s largest companies didn’t appear at the top of the list, headed by Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge, who made $98 million.

CEO pay more broadly is being expanded by a rising stock market, which has lifted the value of stock options, as the economy continues to recover and a new conservative administration promises tax cuts. Rutledge’s pay jumped 42% after the cable television company’s revenue almost was tripled by its acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Rutledge also oversaw an impressive total return for shareholders of 42%.

In second place last year was Nike’s Mark Parker, who made $47.6 million. The cost of having two heads at once was demonstrated at Oracle, whose co-CEOs, Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, took home $41.1 million and $40.9 million, respectively, giving them third and fifth place. Disney’s Bob Iger took out fourth, with $40.1 million.

“CEO PAY IS BEING EXPANDED BY A RISING STOCK MARKET, WHICH HAS LIFTED THE VALUE OF STOCK OPTIONS.”

The survey analyzed the 100 largest companies by revenue that filed remuneration data for 2016 before April 1. The median CEO pay was $15 million, up 6% and the largest increase since 2013, Equilar said.

The average total shareholder return generated was 11%, though six CEOs in the top 10 fell below that marker.

Also making the top 10 were Hewlett-Packard’s Meg Whitman, Johnson Controls International’s Alex Molinaroli, IBM’s Ginni Rometty, HP’s Dion Weisler and Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi.

Once again, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett came in at the bottom of the list, earning $487,881. He was the only CEO to be awarded below $3 million, despite Berkshire overtaking Apple as the largest company by revenue.

Apple revenue fell 8% last year, as the company struggled to sell new iPhones at the same blistering rate in a mature market. Tim Cook experienced a 15% reduction in compensation, placing him at 89th.

It’s important to note that CEOs in the Fortune 1000 represent a fraction of the total number of CEOs today. There are actually about 206,000 businesses when you include mid-market and all private companies. The average total compensation package for CEOs in this group is vastly different than those in the Fortune 1000. For more about private company CEO compensation, click here.

You might also like:
Does Higher CEO Pay Produce Better Company Performance?
More Boards are Consulting Shareholders about Executive Compensation


MORE LIKE THIS

  • Get the CEO Briefing

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

    Roundtable

    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.