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The Highest-Paid HR Executives Earned More Than $6 Million


November 2, 2016

Each year, Equilar conducts a study for Human Resource Executive magazine to uncover trends in compensation for the top-paid HR leaders at U.S. public companies. The full list includes the 50 highest-paid HR leaders.

In connection with the newly released Equilar report, HR Executive Pay Trends 2016, featuring commentary from Allegis Partners, a portion of the lists from each of the past two years are detailed below to provide more context to the more nuanced compensation analysis discussed in the report.

Overall, several interesting trends emerged when comparing the top-paid HR executives lists from the past two years. First and foremost, median and average pay for the 10 highest-paid HR leaders was far higher in fiscal year 2015, as reported in 2016 proxy statements. Median pay reached $4.7 million while average pay was just north of $5 million, compared to $4.4 million at the median and an average $4.5 million in 2014.

Part of this difference can be explained by the fact that there were three newly hired executives on the 2015 Top 10 list. It’s typical for a new executive to earn a large equity grant upon being hired, information that must be disclosed and valued on the date it was granted, according to SEC guidelines. As a result, a new hire stock award that is meant to vest over five years will appear as its full value in the first year.

Despite the appearance of these new hires on the scene, their pay only tells part of the story. The two highest-paid executives in 2015 both earned well above $6 million, far outpacing their colleague who led the 2014 list. And the 10th highest-paid HR leader in 2015 made more than all but two of the top 10 from the previous year.

One other interesting measure of HR executive pay to note is the ratio of the top HR officer’s pay to the number of company employees. Though that’s not necessarily indicative of an HR executive’s depth of responsibilities, it does provide perspective on the expectations and priorities of HR leaders at different sized companies and that pay can vary widely by this measure. In 2014, the average dollars paid per employee for the Top 10 was $113 vs. $553 in 2015, undoubtedly due in part to the executives who served smaller companies, but were awarded new hire grants. Meanwhile, the median was actually higher in 2014—$91 compared to $77 in 2015.

To learn more about pay philosophy and design for HR executives at more than 700 public companies, Equilar clients may download the entire HR Executive Pay Trends 2016 report by logging into their accounts and non-subscribers may request a complimentary download by contacting us.

Highest-Paid HR Executives, Fiscal Year 2014

Company Name HR Executive Name HR Executive Title HR Exec Total Pay Dollars Paid Per Employee
Time Warner Cable, Inc. Peter Stern EVP and Chief Product, People and Strategy Officer $5,852,396 $108
Shutterfly, Inc. Gautam Srivastava †* SVP and Chief HR Officer $4,641,307 N/A
Walt Disney Co. Mary Parker EVP, HR and Chief HR Officer $4,460,473 $25
Autonation, Inc. Jonathan Ferrando General Counsel and EVP, Corporate Development and HR $4,385,537 $183
Baxter International, Inc. Jeanne Mason Corporate VP, HR $4,359,338 $73
Deere & Co. Michael Mack Group President, John Deere Financial Services, Global HR and Public Affairs $4,359,338 $73
Interpublic Group Of Companies, Inc. Philippe Krakowsky EVP and Chief Strategy and Talent Officer $4,318,493 $91
Dish Network Corp. Michael McClaskey EVP and Chief HR Officer $4,243,036 $223
Aramark Lynn McKee EVP, HR $4,144,578 $15
CBS Corp. Anthony Ambrosio SEVP, Chief Administrative Officer and Chief HR Officer $4,028,307 $233
Median $4,365,414 $91
Average $4,480,495 $113

* = newly hired
† = no longer with the company

Highest-Paid HR Executives, Fiscal Year 2015

Company Name HR Executive Name HR Executive Title HR Exec Total Pay Dollars Paid Per Employee
Best Buy Co., Inc. Shari Ballard President, U.S. Retail and Chief HR Officer $6,618,442 $53
HP, Inc. Tracy Keogh EVP, HR $6,381,300 $22
Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Clare Carmichael EVP and Chief HR Officer $5,112,534 $1,748
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. John Lucas * SVP, Global HR $4,764,878 $72
Deere & Co. Michael Mack Group President, John Deere Financial Services, Global HR and Public Affairs $4,693,299 $82
Interpublic Group Of Companies, Inc. Philippe Krakowsky EVP and Chief Strategy and Talent Officer $4,682,425 $95
Shutterfly, Inc. Tracy Layney * SVP and Chief HR Officer $4,671,781 $2,317
F5 Networks, Inc. Kristen Dimlow * EVP, HR $4,592,154 $1,099
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. Kathleen Wilson-Thompson EVP and Global Chief HR Officer $4,528,076 $18
Unitedhealth Group, Inc. D. Ellen Wilson EVP, Human Capital $4,509,505 $23
Median $4,687,862 $77
Average $5,055,439 $553

* = newly hired

Source: Equilar


For more information on Equilar’s research and data analysis, please contact Dan Marcec, Director of Content & Marketing Communications at dmarcec@equilar.com.

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