Detailed findings and methodology:
For most working Americans, salary accounts for the bulk of their compensation. But for CEOs of multibillion dollar corporations, the paycheck is often just a small fraction of their overall compensation. To better align the CEOs’ interest with that of shareholders and the company overall, compensation packages are typically heavily performance driven.
For example, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s salary in 2017 was $1.5 million.After accounting for various bonuses, incentives, and stock options, Nadella earned over $20 million. Similarly, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ salary is less than $82,000 a year, and his total compensation package is nearly $1.7 million.
Like Bezos, many CEOs of the largest U.S. companies are also often the founders of their respective company. Google co-founder Larry Page pays himself just $1 per year. Despite the low salary, he ranks among the 10 wealthiest men in the world, with an estimated net-worth of $50.7 billion. Even Bezos’ compensation of $1.7 million pales in comparison to the majority of CEOs on this list. Still, because he is the largest Amazon shareholder, he is currently the wealthiest man in the world, with a net worth of $116 billion.
In addition to Page, the only other chief executive on this list with an annual compensation below $1 million is Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett. Despite his $100,000 annual compensation package, Buffett is the third wealthiest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $85 billion. Rather than company issued incentives and salary, the bulk of Buffett’s wealth comes from his large share of Berkshire Hathaway stock.
To identify the highest paid CEOs at America’s 100 largest companies, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed total CEO compensation at each of the 100 public companies with the highest reported revenue in fiscal 2016. All compensation figures are as of the last published proxy statement. In some companies, the CEO listed in the most recent proxy no longer holds the top job and is listed as retired in this story. Though they were listed separately in the most recent Fortune 500 list, Dow Chemical and DuPont have since merged and are noted on this list as DowDuPont Inc. Because software company Oracle has two CEOs, 101 CEOs are included on this list.