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Equilar 100 Study Key Findings, as seen in The New York Times

April 17, 2015


On Friday, April 10th, the New York Times published its coverage of the Equilar 100 CEO Pay Study, an analysis of CEO pay at the 100 largest public U.S. companies as measured by revenue. Over the past nine years, Equilar has collaborated with The New York Times as the preferred data provider of executive compensation and corporate governance information. Gretchen Morgenson, author of the article, highlights compensation trends and topics over the past year. Ms. Morgenson was recently interviewed by C-Suite Magazine about her career as a journalist in finance and her thoughts on current governance trends.

The story focuses on the difference in pay between CEOs and average workers. Despite most companies waiting for a final ruling from the SEC on the CEO pay ratio, at least one company has disclosed its interpretation of the pending CEO pay ratio mandate. As noted in the most recent Standard Deviation in Standards: CEO Median Pay Ratio, Noble Energy, Inc. provided the median total compensation of its average worker in addition to the CEO pay ratio. Beyond the CEO pay ratio, the Equilar 100 analysis revealed additional findings.

Key Findings – Equilar 100 Pay Study

In 2014, the three highest paid CEOs were:

  1. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

  2. Oracle Executive Chairman Larry Ellison

  3. Qualcomm CEO Steven Mollenkopf

Satya Nadella was the highest paid at $84.3 million. Mr. Nadella became CEO of Microsoft on February 4, 2014. Larry Ellison of Oracle was second on the list with $67.3 million, a 14% decrease from the previous year. He stepped down from the CEO position on September 17, 2014. Steven Mollenkopf of Qualcomm rounded out the top three on the list with $60.7 million. Mr. Mollenkopf became CEO on March 4, 2014.

In regards to compensation trends, median pay rose 5% for CEOs who served two full fiscal years, and average pay grew by 0.2% for the same group of CEOs. In addition, nine of the 100 CEOs are women, and the highest paid woman was Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard with $19.6 million.

Upcoming Equilar Studies

The Equilar 100 Study is the first of many that will be released in the coming months. As proxy season comes to an end, the Equilar 200 Study will be released as well as the upcoming 2015 CEO Pay Strategies Report. Want to read more articles? Please visit our Knowledge Center.

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