Chief executive officers are the highest ranking corporate executives, and their compensation often reflects as much. Across the 350 largest companies in the United States, the average CEO made $14.5 million in 2019. All things being equal, it would take the typical American about 400 years to earn that amount.
Not all CEOs are compensated equally, however. At some of America’s largest companies, chief executives make well more than double the amount the typical CEO earns, as well as hundreds of times more than most people who work for them. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed available financial disclosures filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by all publicly traded companies of the 100 largest U.S. companies by revenue to identify America’s highest paid CEOs. All executives on the list were ranked by their total compensation in fiscal 2019, while company revenue is listed for the most recent fiscal year. In addition to company revenue and CEO compensation, the ratio of CEO pay to the typical employee came from financial disclosures filed with the SEC. We only considered CEOs who are currently with their company. Most CEOs on the list head companies in the tech or financial services sectors.
Most working Americans are paid primarily through a wage or salary. For CEOs of major corporations, this is not the case. Typically, multimillion-dollar executive compensation packages consist largely of stock options and incentives designed to reward performance. For the chief executives on this list, base salary often does not exceed $1.5 million and accounts for a relatively small share of their overall pay.
Whether the corporate leaders on this list are overpaid is a matter of debate. What is not, however, is that these executives are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of their business, effectively affecting the interests of thousands of employees and shareholders. Here is a look at the companies with the best and worst reputations.
After reviewing this list of CEOs, 24/7 Wall St. found the one with the highest pay package among them:
> Company: Alphabet
> Annual compensation: $280,621,552
> Company revenue: $161.9 billion
> CEO pay ratio: 1,085 times more than the typical employee
As CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, Pichai’s compensation in fiscal 2019 of $280.6 million was by far the most of any CEO of America’s largest public companies. The vast majority of that money (about $277 million) came in the form of stock awards that were tied to Pichai’s recent promotion. Pichai, who had been CEO of the company’s subsidiary Google since 2015, was named CEO of Alphabet in December 2019. The value of his stock options eclipsed his base salary of $650,000. Larry Page, the previous CEO of Alphabet and the company’s co-founder, had a base salary of just $1 that year.
Google currently faces several antitrust lawsuits, including one brought on by nearly 40 U.S. states and territories, alleging that the tech giant has an illegal monopoly on search.