There are hundreds of major, publicly traded companies in the United States with annual revenues of $1 billion or more. At the helm of each of these corporations is a well-compensated chief executive. The typical CEO of such a company earns $11 million a year — nearly 200 times the $57,617 the typical American household earns a year.
The stark difference in compensation only appears to be growing wider. CEO pay increased by 6% in 2016, compared to a 3% increase in earnings for the typical American household. While many working Americans might receive an annual cost of living salary bump, CEOs are used to far bigger raises. Even some of those that rank among the highest paid more than doubled their earnings in 2016 compared to the previous year.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed CEO compensation for the 200 largest publicly traded U.S. companies by revenue to identify the highest paid chief executive officers. Compensation figures, which include salaries, bonuses, incentives, and stock options, came from Equilar, an executive compensation data firm.
Few would disagree that CEOs — particularly those at the helm of large publicly traded companies that employ thousands of Americans — shoulder more responsibility and face greater pressures than the average worker. Accountable to their employees, shareholders, and customers, CEOs could be held culpable for low worker morale, falling returns on Wall Street, and poor customer experiences — among countless other issues.
Whether or not such pressures warrant eight-figure paychecks is a matter for debate. Still, for many of those with the top job at some of America’s largest companies, $11 million is a pittance. Dozens of large U.S. companies compensate their chief executives well in excess of $20 million per year.