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New Study Reveals Highest-Paid Sales Executives at U.S. Public Companies

REDWOOD CITY, CA (March 15, 2018)—Top sales leaders at public companies are becoming more prominent in senior executive ranks, and their pay is increasing in parallel. Entering the 2018 proxy season—when executive compensation data will be reported for fiscal year 2017—Equilar analyzed how sales leadership roles have evolved as one of the top named executive officers (NEOs) at U.S. public companies in the recent past.

There were 218 top sales executives disclosed in annual proxy statements as one of the top 5 highest-paid employees at their respective companies in fiscal year 2016. That number increased in each of the previous five years, up 77.2% in total from 123 in 2012. This suggests that companies are putting greater emphasis on sales expertise and revenue growth. A similar study in November 2017 analyzed chief marketing officers and uncovered similar trends.

Median pay for the individuals who were included as NEOs in proxy statements increased significantly as well during the years Equilar studied. Overall, median total compensation for sales executives grew 26.0% over the five-year period, reaching $1,278,550 in 2016, up from $1,002,408 in 2012. By comparison, CEO pay was up 22.2% in that time frame for Equilar 500 companies, the largest U.S. companies by revenue.

Just two of the 10 top-paid sales leaders were female in 2016, earning the 2nd and 8th spots on the list. While 20% may seem low, women in leading sales roles are even more sparse across the public company universe. Four of 123 executives named as one of the highest-paid employees in proxy statements were women in 2012, or 3.3%. By 2016, the number had increased to 13, representing 5.9% of total sales executives named as highest-paid officers. By comparison, 18.4% of all marketing executives named in 2016 were women. In addition, 16.5% of board directors are women, and about 5% of CEOs are women, as has been reported in various studies.

Click here for a list of the top 10 highest-paid sales executives and an opportunity to request the top 50:

About Equilar

Equilar collects data from SEC filings on more than 200,000 public company executives and board members. In addition to compiling compensation data, the firm has tracked executive positions and corporate board service since 2000 for these individuals, and has mapped professional connections across that time frame. Visit to learn more.

Equilar's data-driven platforms, BoardEdge and Insight, provide tools for board recruiting, business development, executive compensation and shareholder engagement. Companies of all sizes, including 70% of the Fortune 500 and institutional investors representing over trillion in assets, rely on Equilar for their most important boardroom decisions. Equilar also hosts industry-leading board education symposiums, conducts comprehensive custom research services and publishes award-winning thought leadership. Founded in 2000, Equilar is cited regularly by Associated Press, Bloomberg, CNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other leading media outlets.

For more information, contact:

Amit Batish
Content Manager
Equilar, Inc.

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(650) 241-6655

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