These Companies Paid Their Boards Over $10 Million

Chief executive officer pay levels have become part of a heated debate about how much public company leaders should be paid. Some packages have risen into the tens of millions of dollars each year. Shareholder groups have tried to block these large pay packages, but almost entirely without success. CEOs at big companies do work hours that some admit can stretch to 60 or more a week. Boards of directors of these companies, on the other hand, attend a handful of meetings a year, often as few as one per quarter. In some cases, the modest work has been rewarded with huge sums of compensation. Several companies paid their boards over $10 million last year. Here is a list of 25 boards of directors with shocking pay packages.

Directors do need to work between meetings to prepare for them. At some companies, mergers and acquisitions activity, financial audits and executive compensation meetings do take up additional hours. Compensation for these usually comes in packages that include both cash and stock awards or options. However, public companies that made $10 million in aggregate compensation to their boards numbered nine last year, according to data from MyLogIQ.

At the top of the list is Tesla. The total compensation of its 10-person board reached nearly $61 million. Note that CEO Elon Musk does not receive money to sit on the board.

The board of Alphabet, the owner of Google, made a total of $50 million last year. Four of its members are not compensated because they are current or former employees, and they are not included in the board total for purposes of compensation calculations (see note below).

The board of NVR, a huge homebuilder, received $27 million in aggregate compensation last year. The board has 13 members.

The board of Rupert Murdoch media company Twenty-First Century Fox received nearly $24 million last year. The board has 10 members. Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James are not compensated for their board work.

These are all the companies that paid their boards over $10 million last year:

Company Director Count Total Compensation
Tesla 10 $60,942,883
Alphabet 8 $50,294,471
NVR 13 $27,005,699
Twenty-First Century Fox 10 $23,913,510
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals 11 $18,454,518
Eloxx Pharmaceuticals 8 $14,451,644
Madrigal Pharmaceuticals 5 $12,242,500
Keurig Dr Pepper 18 $10,718,764
General Electric 20 $10,207,266

Total pay packages of corporate boards are often driven largely by compensation for a single board member. Here is a list of board members who make more than $1 million.

Note: One of Alphabet’s board members, Diane Greene, was a Google employee in 2018 who did not receive compensation for her service as a board member that year, but Alphabet reported her 2018 Google compensation of $47,502,388 as part of their 2018 total board costs.

Data from artificial intelligence and machine learning public company analysis company MyLogIQ.