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Knowledge Center Reports

Equilar 100: The Highest-Paid CEOs at the Largest U.S. Companies

Pay Trends Before the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 23, 2020

Each year, the Equilar 100 examines CEO compensation at the largest companies by revenue to provide an early look at executive pay trends. The study includes companies that filed annual proxy statements before March 31, considered the “half-way” point in the annual proxy season. Thousands of more public companies will file executive compensation data during the months of April and May. Of course, while several companies are adjusting or planning to adjust their executive pay plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the findings in this study reflect 2019 pay packages prior to the crisis. As of the release of this study, eight Equilar 100 companies have made changes to their CEO salaries in some form as a result of COVID-19.

The introductory page of this feature highlights 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, revenue and other measurements. A summary of key highlights from the report follows on this page.

Highest-Paid CEOs at Equilar 100 Companies

Robert Swan
Intel (INTC)
$66,935,100 n/a $71,965
Robert A. Iger
Walt Disney (DIS)
$45,550,528 -31% $69,570
Miguel Patricio
Kraft Heinz (KHC)
$43,297,480 n/a $24,977
Satya Nadella
Microsoft (MSFT)
$42,910,215 66% $125,843
Charles W. Scharf
Wells Fargo (WFC)
$34,286,574 n/a $82,458
Daniel P. O’Day
Gilead Sciences (GILD)
$29,107,854 n/a $22,449
Randall L. Stephenson
AT&T (T)
$28,443,729 11% $181,193
Michael F. Neidorff
Centene (CNC)
$26,438,425 1% $74,639
Charles H. Robbins
Cisco Systems (CSCO)
$25,829,833 21% $51,904
Michael Corbat
Citigroup (C)
$25,503,915 5% $66,068

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

Click Here

Key Trends and Takeaways

  • Median pay increased 0.6% for Equilar 100 CEOs. In fiscal year 2019, median pay for Equilar 100 CEOs reached $15.7 million. This compares to $15.6 million for the CEOs on the previous year’s list.* The change in median pay was the same as the previous year’s study, except pay actually decreased by 0.6% from 2017 to 2018.

  • Eight Equilar 100 companies make changes to CEO salary amid COVID-19. While several U.S. companies continue to make changes to executive pay in response to the current crisis, just eight Equilar 100 companies made some form of change in CEO salary. Those companies are HCA Healthcare (Samuel N. Hazen), FedEx (Frederick W. Smith), AECOM (Michael S. Burke), Cummins (N. Thomas Linebarger), Kohl’s (Michelle Gass), AutoNation (Cheryl Miller), Penske Automotive (Roger S. Penske), Performance Food Group (George L. Holm).

  • The median CEO Pay Ratio for the Equilar 100 was 252:1. The median CEO pay ratio decreased from 254:1 in 2018 to 252:1 in 2019. Several factors could be the result of a lower ratio, including an increase in median employee pay.

  • Women represent less than 10% of Equilar 100 CEOs. Similar to the previous year’s study, just nine women hold the title of chief executive at Equilar 100 companies. Last year’s study also saw three of the nine women on the top 10 list; however, this year there were no women on that list.

  • Apple topped Berkshire Hathaway in total revenue for the second consecutive year. In 2019, Apple topped Berkshire Hathaway with revenue of $260.2 billion, the second consecutive year Apple led in revenue. In the two prior years, Berkshire Hathaway was the largest company by revenue across the Equilar 100 study, topping out Apple each year. Berkshire Hathaway was the only other company on the Equilar 100 list in 2019 to have revenue over $200 billion at $256.1 billion. AT&T once again had the third-largest revenue on the list at $181.2 billion.

*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.

For information regarding the Equilar 100 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 report. Charlie Pontrelli, Research Manager, contributed the data and analysis for this study. For more information on Equilar research and data analysis, please contact Amit Batish at

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