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Knowledge Center Reports

Equilar/Associated Press S&P 500 CEO Pay Study 2016


May 25, 2016

Since 2011, Equilar has worked together with the Associated Press on various executive compensation studies. This latest version of an ongoing annual study identifies total compensation for 341 CEOs who served in that role at an S&P 500 company for at least two years as of fiscal year-end. The companies must have filed a proxy between January 1st and April 30th of this year to be included in this study.

Total compensation and year-over-year change in pay for all S&P 500 CEOs in the study can be found on the following page or by filling out the form. The form provides an immediate download of an Excel sheet that allows you to sort and customize the data by total compensation and change in pay.


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Key Findings

  • Median total compensation* for S&P 500 CEOs in this year’s study totaled $10.8 million. For those executives, the median pay increase was 4.5% from the year prior.

  • Of the 341 executives in the study, just 17 were female. However, those female executives earned a median $18.0 million, compared to $10.5 million at the median for the 324 male executives.

  • Healthcare companies in the S&P 500 saw the highest pay packages at the median, reaching $14.5 million. Utilities CEOs earned a median $9.3 million, the lowest of the industry sectors in the study.

  • CEOs based in New Jersey earned more at the median—$20.7 million—than executives in any other state. New York had the second-highest median CEO pay at $14.5 million. While the number of S&P 500 CEOs varies widely, New Jersey also boasted the sixth-highest number of S&P 500 executives with 14, trailing New York (39), California (36), Texas (36), Illinois (22) and Massachusetts (17).

Equilar also conducted a study for the Associated Press on the highest-paid CEO in each state—limited to public companies with more than $1 billion in revenue for a consistent sample size—which will publish in the coming weeks.

*Total compensation includes information disclosed in company proxy statements including salary, bonus, stock and options valued at grant date, any deferred compensation, and other compensation (including benefits and perks).

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