Special Report

This Is the Lowest Paid CEO in America

The chief executive officers of America’s largest companies have enjoyed pay raises most years for decades. That was interrupted at some public corporations, as the COVID-19 pandemic caused some of them to agree to salary cuts due to a decline in earnings or large layoffs of their workers. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) data for corporate compensation in 2021 shows how sharp the reversal can be. Dozens of CEOs have pay packages that range into the tens of millions of dollars. The lowest-paid CEO in America, however, is also one of the world’s richest men: Warren Buffet. (And these are the lowest-paying American companies.)

America does have a tradition of the $1 CEO. Steve Jobs was paid only $1 each year from 1997 through 2011. Apple could have paid him more, and he could have claimed he was due much higher compensation. However, the $1 was meant to show that he was in the same boat as investors. He owned hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Apple shares. If the stock rose, he benefited along with the other shareholders.

Most other CEOs in the $1 club have been in the tech industry and have owned large parts of their companies. This club has included Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Dorsey of Twitter.

Proxies, which show CEO and other top executive pay as required by the SEC, have been posted by most S&P 500 companies. MyLogIQ, which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to sort and explore SEC data, has provided 24/7 Wall St. with compensation data for S&P 500 companies that have released their proxies. (Here’s a look at the largest company in every state.)

Click here to see the lowest-paid CEOs in America

Some CEOs received astonishingly high pay last year. David Zaslav of Discovery made over $246 million. The media company he runs is small by global media company standards. This year, however, he will gain control of Warner Media, because of a deal for him to manage AT&T’s media assets. Maybe then his remarkably high compensation will make sense – if he turns around the battered media company.

In contrast, there’s Warren Buffett. Buffet, who will be 92 years old later this year, took over Berkshire Hathaway in 1966. Through buyouts of dozens of companies, and partial ownership in others, he has built it into a public corporation with earnings of $90 billion last year. Its market cap is nearly $800 billion. Buffet has become among the richest people in the world, with a net worth of over $100 billion. Last year, Buffet’s pay was $373,204. His cash salary was $100,000. Berkshire’s shares have risen almost 100% in the past two years, so he has been extremely well-rewarded nonetheless.

Data provided by MyLogIQ

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