The debate about whether public company CEOs make too much has continued for decades. Boards of directors claim that good chief executives are rare, and that means premium pay like that given to elite professional athletes. Critics complain that corporate top dogs should not receive huge multiples of what schoolteachers and firefighters do.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has required public companies to disclose the compensation of their most senior executives for years. Recently, the agency made these corporations show CEO pay compared to the median salaries of their workers.
MyLogicIQ, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to examine public company figures, has run the numbers for the ratio of CEOs to their workers for hundreds of public companies in terms of pay. One of the highest such ratios is that at Walmart, where chief executive Doug McMillon made $22,574,358 last year. That was 1,078 times the very low $20,942 median compensation of workers at the huge retailer. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services puts the federal poverty level for a family of four at $26,200. A total of 2,275,928 Walmart employees were used to calculate this median, according to its proxy. McMillon also made over $20 million in the two previous years.
Note that Walmart and McDonald’s have the largest numbers of employees on food stamps and Medicaid, according to the Government Accountability Office. Meanwhile, several members of the family of founder Sam Walton are among the richest people in the world.
Walmart did not have a particularly good year financially last year. Net income fell to $13.7 billion from $15.2 billion the year before.