April 12, 2017
Each year, the Equilar 100 examines CEO compensation at the largest companies by revenue to provide a bellwether for changes in executive pay trends. The study includes companies that filed annual proxy statements before April 1, considered the “half-way” point in the annual proxy season. With thousands more companies expected to file in April, the annual Equilar 200 study with the New York Times will be forthcoming in late May, providing a comprehensive look at the largest pay packages provided to public company chief executives in 2016.
The introductory page of this feature shows the Top 10 highest-paid CEOs at Equilar 100 companies. Below the highest-paid CEO table, there is a link to the full Equilar 100 in an interactive chart that allows you to sort by compensation and performance measurements. A summary of key highlights from the report is at the bottom of this page.
|EXECUTIVE NAME||TOTAL COMP.||REVENUE (MM)||TSR|
The full list of CEOs is on the following page in an interactive table.
Median and average pay were both higher compared against last year’s study. Median pay for Equilar 100 CEOs was $15.0 million in fiscal year 2016, vs. $14.5 million for the CEOs on the previous year’s list*. Average pay for Equilar 100 CEOs was $16.6 million, compared to $15.5 million the year prior.
Furthermore, the median increase in pay year over year for Equilar 100 CEOs was 6% in fiscal year 2016. By comparison, the median pay increase for CEOs on last year’s Equilar 100 list was 3%.
The highest-paid were higher-paid in 2016. Equilar 100 companies included eight CEOs with pay packages over $30 million in fiscal 2016, vs. just four in last year’s study. Thomas Rutledge of Charter Communications received $98 million in total compensation, bolstered by a $78 million options grant.
More female CEOs graced this year’s list, and once again, were paid more than males overall. Nine CEOs on this year’s Equilar 100 list are female, an increase from eight represented for fiscal year 2015. Once again, female CEOs far outpaced the median pay for the Equilar 100 as a whole. Median total compensation for these nine women was $21.2 million in 2016, compared to a median $14.4 million for the 92 male CEOs in the study. Safra Catz of Oracle was the highest-paid female CEO in 2016, though her total compensation dipped to $40.9 million after reaching $53.2 million the year prior.
Berkshire topped Apple for highest revenues. Berkshire Hathaway and Apple swapped places as the largest companies by revenue in the most recent Equilar 100 study. Berkshire Hathaway pulled in $223.6 billion in fiscal year 2016, a 6% increase, while Apple’s revenue dropped 8% to $215.6 billion in 2016. Once again, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway was by far the lowest-paid CEO in the Equilar 100, earning $487,881 in total compensation last year—in fact, he was the only CEO to be awarded less than $3 million. Tim Cook of Apple was also paid below the median ($8.7 million), and his total compensation was 15% lower than 2015.
*Editor’s note: While many of the companies in the Equilar 100 are consistent from year to year, due to changes in revenue and floating filing dates the list is not the same every year. "Total compensation" is defined as salary, bonus, stock and options valued at grant date, and other compensation as disclosed in the summary compensation table of company proxy statements. This figure excludes pension and deferred compensation values.
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