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CEO Pay Hits $14.5 million at the 100 Largest Companies by Revenue

REDWOOD CITY, CA (April 25, 2016) — Despite a volatile market for many industries in 2015, CEO pay appears to be trending up. Among CEOs in the Equilar 100, total compensation increased a median of 3% in fiscal year 2015, totaling $14.5 million.

Each year, the Equilar 100 examines CEO pay at the largest companies by revenue to study how executive pay aligns with company performance. This early look at proxy season data provides a snapshot into trends we might expect overall. More than 700 companies will submit their proxy statements in the last two weeks of April to meet the filing deadline for companies with a December fiscal year end.

“Though CEO pay has been increasing consistently each year since the 2010, there was a question of whether volatility in the stock market or certain industries like oil and gas or retail would reduce executive pay in 2015,” said Amit Batish, director of content at Equilar. “Even in cases of large losses in revenue by some companies, CEO pay has not been greatly affected. Though each company’s case is different, pay tends to be much more closely tied to shareholder return.”

Highest Paid CEOs at the 100 Largest Companies by Revenue

Mark V. Hurd
$53.2 $38.2 5%
Safra A. Catz
$53.2 $38.2 5%
Robert A. Iger
$43.5 $52.5 17%
David M. Cote
$33.1 $38.6 6%
Jeffrey R. Immelt
$26.4 $117.4 27%

Source:Equilar, Inc.

View the full list of companies and CEOs here.

Other Key Trends and Takeaways

  • Median and Average Pay: Median pay for CEOs in the Equilar 100 was $14.5 million in fiscal year 2015. Average pay in 2015 was $15.5 million.

  • Year-over-Year Changes: At the median, CEOs made 3% more than 2014. The CEOs on last year’s Equilar 100 list earned 5% more than 2013 at the median.

  • The median total shareholder return (TSR) growth for Equilar 100 companies was 2%, and median revenue growth was 1%.

  • Female CEOs: Eight CEOs on the list are female, and they far outpace the median pay for the Equilar 100 as a whole. Median compensation for these eight women was $20.0 million in 2015, while average pay was $22.7 million. Safra Catz of Oracle—tied with her colleague Mark Hurd as the highest paid individual CEO in the Equilar 100—was the highest paid female with $53.2 million.

  • Chairman/CEO Pay: Two-thirds of Equilar 100 CEOs are also Chairman of the Board. Median pay was $14.1 million for Chairman/CEOs at Equilar 100 companies vs. $13.6 million for CEOs who were not Chairman.

  • Company Revenues: Median revenue for the Equilar 100 was $32.7 billion. Apple led the list, totaling $233.7 billion in 2015, followed by Berkshire Hathaway with $210.8 billion. Notably, Tim Cook of Apple was paid below the median ($10.3 million) and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway was by far the lowest-paid CEO in the Equilar 100, earning $470,244 in total compensation last year.

  • No Equilar 100 company besides Apple and Berkshire Hathaway exceeded $150 billion in revenue last year. NextEra Energy was the 100th largest company on the list, pulling in $17.5 billion in fiscal year 2015. NextEra’s CEO earned $14.7 million in 2015, matching the median for the Equilar 100.

  • Industry Trends: Each of the oil and gas companies in the Equilar 100 had double-digit revenue declines in fiscal year 2015, yet only one saw CEO pay fall from the previous year (ConocoPhillips).

About the Equilar 100

The Equilar 100 is a snapshot of companies to file annual proxy statements before April 1 to provide an early look at CEO pay trends for 2015. With hundreds of companies filing in the last two weeks of April and first week of May, Equilar’s annual study on the 200 Highest-Paid CEOs overall will be forthcoming in several weeks.

About Equilar

Equilar is the #1 provider of executive data, collecting information on more than 150,000 executives and board members from thousands of public companies. Our cloud-based platforms organize executive data into easily digestible formats, delivering compensation benchmarking, corporate governance and shareholder engagement tools with accuracy and integrity. These platforms bring together companies, shareholders and advisors to inform better business decisions and drive exceptional results. Founded in 2000, Equilar is the trusted data provider for 70% of the Fortune 500, and is cited regularly by The New York Times, Bloomberg, Forbes, Associated Press, CNN Money, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal and other leading media outlets.


Amit Batish
Director of Content & Marketing Communications

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(650) 241-6655

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