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Knowledge Center Reports

Equilar | New York Times 200 Highest-Paid CEOs

May 25, 2018

The New York Times recently published its coverage of the annual Equilar 200 study, which analyzes the largest pay packages awarded to CEOs at U.S. public companies with more than $1 billion in revenue. This edition of the Equilar 200 marks the 12th consecutive year of a partnership with The New York Times to analyze data on pay awards for the top CEOs.

The introductory page of this feature shows the Top 10 highest-paid CEOs in fiscal year 2017, as reported in the summary compensation table of their proxy statements filed to the SEC. (Read more about the study’s methodology.)

Below the Top 10 table, there is a link to the full list of the 200 CEOs in an interactive chart that allows you to sort by total compensation, change in compensation value year over year, the new CEO pay ratio disclosure and the company’s median employee pay.

The 10 Highest-Paid CEOs in 2017

COMPANY (Ticker)
Hock E. Tan Hock E. Tan
Broadcom (AVGO)
$103,211,163 318%
Frank J. Bisignano Frank J. Bisignano
First Data (FDC)
$102,210,396 646%
Michael Rapino Michael Rapino
Live Nation Entertainment (LYV)
$70,615,760 577%
Leslie Moonves Leslie Moonves
$68,375,015 0%
Gregory B. Maffei Gregory B. Maffei
Liberty Media & Qurate Retail Group (FWONA & QRTEA)
$67,220,132 125%
W. Nicholas Howley W. Nicholas Howley
TransDigm Group (TDG)
$61,023,102 223%
Dexter Goei Dexter Goei
Altice Usa (ATUS)
$53,560,610 n/a
Jeffrey L. Bewkes Jeffrey L. Bewkes
Time Warner (TWX)
$48,962,200 50%
Ronald F. Clarke Ronald F. Clarke
FleetCor Technologies (FLT)
$45,054,310 107%
Stephen Kaufer Stephen Kaufer
TripAdvisor (TRIP)
$43,160,584 3400%

The full list of CEOs is on the following page in an interactive table.

Click Here

Key Trends and Takeaways

CEO pay took another big step forward.

Overall, median pay for the 200 highest-paid CEOs was $17.5 million in fiscal year 2017. By comparison, the median pay package for CEOs at companies above $1 billion in revenue was $6.9 million in 2017.

Equilar 200 CEOs received a 14% pay raise at the median over the previous year in fiscal year 2017. By comparison, the median raise was 9% for Equilar 200 CEOs in fiscal year 2016 and 5% in fiscal year 2015.

$100 million pay packages are back.

For the first time since 2014, the highest-paid CEO received more than $100 million in compensation awards. Two executives—Hock Tan of Broadcom and Frank Bisignano of First Data—were awarded $100 million or more in 2017.

Pay packages on the whole are higher than ever before.

The 200th highest-paid CEO on this year’s list was awarded approximately $13.8 million, up from about $13.1 million in 2016. In 2015, the 200th highest-paid CEO was awarded $12.2 million.

The CEO pay ratio revealed employee compensation for the first time.

Many companies were required to disclose the ratio of their CEO’s pay to that of a median employee. Not surprisingly, the ratios were quite high for many of the CEOs on the Equilar 200 list, checking in at a median 275:1. By comparison, the median CEO pay ratio for the Russell 3000 overall as of May 10, 2018 was 70:1.

The real story in this ratio is the newly reported median employee number, since CEO pay has been disclosed for many years. The table on the second page of this feature spotlights all employee pay figures at those companies required to report. (The rule went into effect for companies with a fiscal year beginning on or after January 1, 2017.)

Total shareholder return was up significantly across the market.

At least in the short term, CEO compensation for the Equilar 200 list appears in line with shareholder value creation. In 2017, the median total shareholder return was 20%, in comparison to 14% in 2016 and 3% in 2015. While compensation packages are partially forward-looking—incentive stock awards are meant to pay out over multi-year periods—the buoyed market has an influence on equity award values in the short term.

Methodology Notes

The Equilar 200 includes the largest pay packages awarded to CEOs from U.S.-based or listed companies with more than $1 billion in revenue that filed proxy statements for fiscal year 2017 by April 30, 2018. “Total compensation” is defined as information disclosed in the summary compensation table of company proxy statements filed to the SEC. The figures represent what was awarded to a CEO in fiscal year 2017, and include salary, cash bonuses, stock and options awards valued in their entirety as of the grant date (i.e. grant date fair value), and other compensation (including benefits and perks). These numbers exclude change in pension values and deferred compensation.

For information regarding the Equilar 200 and the underlying datasets, or to learn more about Equilar Research Services, please contact the Equilar research team at

Amit Batish, Content Manager, authored this post. Please contact Amit Batish at for more information on Equilar research and data analysis.

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