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The New York Times Top-Paid CEO Study Featuring Equilar Data

The New York Times recently released its annual study of the 100 highest-paid CEOs of U.S. publicly-traded companies using data provided exclusively by Equilar.

Over the past seven years, Equilar has been the preferred data provider to The Times for executive compensation information. As part of this collaboration, Equilar provides data on compensation, professional history, and wealth events for executives of publicly-traded companies. Additional information on executive connections, board service, and wealth data can be found in Equilar Atlas, an executive networking tool with profiles of more than 360,000 executives worldwide.

View the complete list of 100 top-paid CEOs

Top 5 Highest-Paid* CEOs of 2012
No. 1 Lawrence J. Ellison $96.1M
  Oracle 24% ↑
No. 2 Richard M. Bracken $38.5M
  HCA n/a
No. 3 Robert A. Iger $37.1M
  Walt Disney 18% ↑
No. 4 Mark G. Parker $35.2M
  Nike 219% ↑
No. 5 Philippe P. Dauman $33.4M
  Viacom 22% ↓
*CEO pay includes base salary, stock and options awards, cash bonus, perks, and other incentives

Top-Paid CEOs of 2012

The New York Times article points out that after two years of Say on Pay, median compensation still climbed by three percent among the top-paid chief executives last year. Rounding out the top three CEOs were Larry Ellison of Oracle, Richard Bracken of HCA, and Robert Iger of Walt Disney. Mark Parker of Nike is number four on the list with a pay increase of 219 percent in 2012.

Key Findings – Behind the Scenes

Equilar’s executive data reveals several interesting findings:

View the complete list of 100 top-paid CEOs


To measure CEO compensation, The New York Times commissioned Equilar to compile and analyze pay data from corporate filings. The data set includes information for the 100 highest-paid chief executives at publicly-traded companies. To be included in the Equilar study, a company must be incorporated in the United States and must have filed a definitive proxy statement by March 29, 2013.

For each executive, total compensation is calculated as the sum of base salary, discretionary and performance-based cash bonuses, the grant date value of stock and option awards, and other compensation. Other compensation typically includes benefits and perquisites. All data is taken from the Summary Compensation Table provided in each company’s proxy statement.

If grant date values are not provided for option awards, Equilar’s research team calculated the value of stock option grants using the widely-accepted Black-Scholes methodology and the company’s own option valuation assumptions.

Grant-date values represent the estimated value of new stock and option awards. Although companies disclose grant-date values for these awards, there is no guarantee that executives will realize these amounts. They may earn more or less depending on stock price changes.

In the analysis, Equilar’s research team considered equity awards in the fiscal year they were granted. In some cases, especially in the financial sector, companies grant equity awards at the beginning of each fiscal year based on performance in the previous fiscal year. As such, the equity awards granted in a fiscal year should not be viewed as indicative of corporate performance in that same year.

Percentage change in pay for each executive is calculated using compensation data from the previous fiscal year. For some CEOs, specifically new hires or the newly-promoted, change in pay is listed as “n/a.”

About Equilar

Equilar is the leading provider of executive compensation and corporate governance data to corporations, nonprofits, consulting firms, institutional investors, and the media. Using its extensive database, Equilar allows clients to accurately benchmark and track executive and board compensation, equity grants, award policies, and compensation practices. Equilar’s C-Suite mapping technology also reveals business networking opportunities by identifying pathways to executives and board members at companies of interest. Equilar’s research has been consistently cited by Bloomberg, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other leading media outlets.