Median CEO Pay Just Topped $10M for the First Time

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 27 2014 6:33 PM

Median CEO Pay Just Topped $10M for the First Time

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Direct deposit is probably the way to go for today's CEOs.

Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images

A report by the Associated Press on Tuesday was a good reminder: It’s good to be king. But being CEO probably pays better. According to the AP’s math, median chief executive pay among companies listed in Standard & Poor's 500 reached an astonishing new high in 2013—weighing in at a whopping $10.5 million.

For a littler perspective, that’s up nearly 9 percent from 2012, which is small potatoes compared to the explosion in pay over the past four years. Since a dip during the Great Recession, CEO median pay is up 50 percent during the less-Great Recovery. “A chief executive now makes about 257 times the average worker's salary, up sharply from 181 times in 2009,” according to the AP.

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Here’s more from the AP report on why you should have been CEO and how the median salaries stretched into eight-figure territory last year.

Over the last several years, companies' boards of directors have tweaked executive compensation to answer critics' calls for CEO pay to be more attuned to performance. They've cut back on stock options and cash bonuses, which were criticized for rewarding executives even when a company did poorly. Boards of directors have placed more emphasis on paying CEOs in stock instead of cash and stock options.
The change became a boon for CEOs last year because of a surge in stocks that drove the S&P 500 index up 30 percent. The stock component of pay packages rose 17 percent to $4.5 million…
The highest paid CEO was Anthony Petrello of oilfield-services company Nabors Industries, who made $68.3 million in 2013. The second-highest paid CEO among companies in the S&P 500 was Leslie Moonves of CBS. Moonves' total compensation rose 9 percent to $65.6 million in 2013, a year when the company's stock rose nearly 70 percent.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.