CEO pay has become a bone of contention between the boards of some public companies and their shareholders. How can a CEO be worth tens of millions of dollars, some investors ask, no matter how good earnings are? Boards argue that the best CEOs are in short supply, and need to be paid sums that will keep them in place, and motivated. Several companies pay executives who are not CEOs extravagant compensation. In these cases, questions about pay become even more in question.
Some of the non-CEOs who make massive sums are founders or the relatives of founders. For several people at the top of non-CEO large pay packages, this is the case. The top paid non-CEO executive at a public company last year was Larry Ellison, who made $108 million for 2018, according to new data from MyLogIQ, which analyses public company information. Ellison is the executive chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle Corporation, which he founded in 1977. He stepped down as CEO in 2014. He is currently the seventh wealthiest person in the U.S., with a net worth of $71 billion, according to Forbes. Ellison never graduated from college but has built a company with revenue of $40 billion last year. He is also among the world’s premier yachtsmen. A team he financed won the America’s Cup in 2013.
Second on the list of non-CEOs with high pay at public companies is Lachlan Murdoch at Fox who made $51 million. His father Rupert Murdoch, is the controlling shareholder of the company. Lachland and his brother James have each made millions of dollars working for their media baron father.
Third on the list of highest-paid non-CEOs at public companies, is Howard Schulz, the founder of Starbucks. He made $30 million last year. He started Starbucks in 1986, and after serving as CEO and Executive Chairman, he stepped down in 2018. Forbes lists him as the 232nd wealthiest person in the U.S. with a net worth of $3.7 billion. He is often mentioned as a presidential candidate but has never fielded an official effort to run for the office.
An analysis of public company compensation shows that some people not among the highest-paid CEOs in America can make a fortune. It helps to be a founder or at least the relative of one.