nb_cid nb_clickOther -tt-nb this.style.behavior='url(#default#homepage)';this.setHomePage('http://www.aol.com/?mtmhp=acm50ieupgradebanner_112313 network-banner-empty upgradeBanner
Search AOL Mail
AOL Mail
AOL Favorites

The top 50 highest-paid CEOs

NEW YORK (AP) -- They're the $10 million men and women.

Propelled by a soaring stock market, the median pay package for a CEO rose above eight figures for the first time last year. The head of a typical large public company earned a record $10.5 million, an increase of 8.8 percent from $9.6 million in 2012, according to an Associated Press/Equilar pay study.

Last year was the fourth straight that CEO compensation rose following a decline during the Great Recession. The median CEO pay package climbed more than 50 percent over that stretch. A chief executive now makes about 257 times the average worker's salary, up sharply from 181 times in 2009.

The best paid CEO last year led an oilfield-services company. The highest paid female CEO was Carol Meyrowitz of discount retail giant TJX, owner of TJ Maxx and Marshall's. And the head of Monster Beverage got a monster of a raise.

Over the last several years, companies' boards of directors have tweaked executive compensation to answer critics' calls for CEO pay to be more attuned to performance. They've cut back on stock options and cash bonuses, which were criticized for rewarding executives even when a company did poorly. Boards of directors have placed more emphasis on paying CEOs in stock instead of cash and stock options.

The change became a boon for CEOs last year because of a surge in stocks that drove the Standard & Poor's 500 index up 30 percent. The stock component of pay packages rose 17 percent to $4.5 million.

"Companies have been happy with their CEOs' performance and the stock market has provided a big boost," says Gary Hewitt, director of research at GMI Ratings, a corporate governance research firm. "But we are still dealing with a situation where CEO compensation has spun out of control and CEOs are being paid extraordinary levels for their work."

The highest paid CEO was Anthony Petrello of oilfield-services company Nabors Industries, who made $68.3 million in 2013. Petrello's pay ballooned as a result of a $60 million lump sum that the company paid him to buy out his old contract.

Nabors Industries did not respond to calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Petrello was one of a handful of chief executives who received a one-time boost in pay because boards of directors decided to re-negotiate CEO contracts under pressure from shareholders. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold CEO Richard Adkerson also received a one-time payment of $36.7 million to renegotiate his contract. His total pay, $55.3 million, made him the third-highest paid CEO last year.

The second-highest paid CEO among companies in the S&P 500 was Leslie Moonves of CBS. Moonves' total compensation rose 9 percent to $65.6 million in 2013, a year when the company's stock rose nearly 70 percent.

"CBS's share appreciation was not only the highest among major media companies, it was near the top of the entire S&P 500," CBS said in a statement. "Mr. Moonves' compensation is reflective of his continued strong leadership."

Media industry CEOs were, once again, paid handsomely. Viacom's Philippe Dauman made $37.2 million while Walt Disney's Robert Iger made $34.3 million. Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes earned $32.5 million.

The industry with the biggest pay bump was banking. The median pay of a Wall Street CEO rose by 22 percent last year, on top of a 22 percent increase the year before. BlackRock chief Larry Fink made the most, $22.9 million. Kenneth Chenault of American Express ranked second with earnings of $21.7 million.

Like stock compensation, performance cash bonuses jumped last year as a result of the surging stock market and higher corporate profits. Earnings per share of the S&P 500 rose 5.3 percent in 2013, according to FactSet. That resulted in an average cash bonus of $1.9 million, a jump of 12.9 percent from the prior year.

More than two-thirds of CEOs at S&P 500 companies received a raise last year, according to the AP/Equilar study, because of the bigger profits and higher stock prices.

CEO pay remains a divisive issue in the U.S. Large investors and boards of directors argue that they need to offer big pay packages to attract talented men and women who can run multibillion-dollar businesses.

"If you have a good CEO at a company, the wealth he might generate for shareholders could be in the billions," says Dan Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. "It might be worth paying these guys millions for doing this type of work."

CEOs are still getting much bigger raises than the average U.S. worker.

The 8.8 percent increase in total pay that CEOs got last year dwarfed the average raise U.S. workers received. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said average weekly wages for U.S. workers rose 1.3 percent in 2013. At that rate an employee would have to work 257 years to make what a typical S&P 500 CEO makes in a year.

"There's this unbalanced approach, where there's all this energy put into how to reward executives, but little energy being put into ensuring the rest of the workforce is engaged, productive and paid appropriately," says Richard Clayton, research director at Change to Win Investment Group, which works with labor union-affiliated pension funds.

Investors have become increasingly vocal about executive pay since the recession. This has led to an increasing number of public spats between boards of directors, who propose pay packages, and shareholders, who own the company. These fights become public during "say on pay" votes, when shareholders have an opportunity to show they approve or don't approve of pay packages. Votes are non-binding, but companies sometimes act when there is clear disapproval from shareholders.

Petrello was the best-paid CEO largely because the board of directors of Nabors Industries' wanted to end his previous contract. Under that contract, Petrello could have been owed huge cash bonuses, and the company could have paid out tens of millions of dollars if he were to die or become disabled. The board changed his contract following "say on pay" votes in 2012 and 2013 that showed shareholders were unhappy with how Nabors paid its executives.

There have been other signs of shareholder concern about CEO pay. This month, 75 percent of Chipotle Mexican Grill shareholders voted against a proposed pay package for co-CEOs Steve Ells and Montgomery Moran. Ells earned $25.1 million in 2013 while Moran earned $24.3 million, a 27 percent rise in compensation for each. Chipotle spent $49.5 million on CEO pay last year, the fourth highest in the S&P 500.

"Companies are now taking the time to think through their pay practices and are talking more with shareholders," says Hewitt of GMI Ratings. "There's still a long way to go but pay practices are getting better."

To calculate a CEO's pay package, the AP and Equilar looked at salary as well as perks, bonuses and stock and option awards, using the regulatory filings that companies file each year. Equilar looked at data from 337 companies that had filed their proxies by April 30. It includes CEOs who have been at the company for two years.

One prominent name not included in the data was Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who is typically one of the best paid CEOs in the country.

Oracle files its salary paperwork later in the year, so Ellison was excluded in the 2013 survey data. He was awarded $76.9 million in stock options for Oracle's fiscal year ending May 2013, according to proxy filings.

Among other findings:

- Female CEOs had a median pay package worth more than their male counterparts, $11.7 million versus $10.5 million for males. However, there were only 12 female CEOs in the AP/Equilar study compared with 325 male CEOs that were polled.

- The CEO who got the biggest bump in compensation from 2012 to 2013 was Rodney Sacks, the CEO of Monster Beverage. Sacks earned $6.22 million last year, an increase of 679 percent. Monster's board of directors awarded Sacks $5.3 million in stock options to supplement his $550,000 salary and $300,000 cash bonus.


Join the discussion

1000|Characters 1000  Characters
rutch8 May 27 2014 at 5:49 PM

why don't the coumpanys give their workers a raise. ceo's can't be worth that much. it takes all employes to run a bussiness.

Flag Reply +82 rate up
17 replies
deebeedonny May 27 2014 at 5:52 PM

Wow... One CEO makes over $68million, another makes over $65million. These paychecks are staggering. Then you have those repubs who are so against raising the national mimimum wage scale from a pitiful $7.25. Just today I was in spirited conversation with some repub, who claims if they raise the minimum wage higher than $7.25 it will be a result in the loss of jobs. My response, that's the weakest excuse and the only excuse those repubs have. I'm certain those GOOFers aren't concerned with the loss of jobs, their motives is protect the ones than bankroll mega millions to them. Our neighbors to the North, Canada, has a higher national minimum wage than our country. Canada's wage is the equivalent to over $10.00 per hour. Then again there is no GOP in Canada. Just one of the many, many reason the american people must vote out/oust those repubs. If they have complete control, our country will probably be on the list of the Third World Countries...

Flag Reply +53 rate up
48 replies
pamei7 May 27 2014 at 5:57 PM

and i bet he paid $ 20.00 in tax,,,,,,,,,,,no one is worth 1m per week

Flag Reply +52 rate up
6 replies
magyarlayn May 27 2014 at 5:45 PM


Flag Reply +39 rate up
5 replies
cbcmkting May 27 2014 at 6:51 PM

Am I jjealous yes! Do I begrudge NO! It is all relative! Had any of us worked hard and climed that same ladder, perhaps we would be pulling in 65 mil! It is all relative! How instrumental was he in their cpmpany's success..

For those who call it obscene, I am sure you would give it back or lets say 60 mil of it to welth redistribution??? I THINK NOT!!! YOU ARE ALL HYPOCRITS, JEALOUS OF YOUR OWN FAILURES!!



Flag Reply +31 rate up
25 replies
jhbizcon May 27 2014 at 6:05 PM

Well, it is so unfortunate that the infrastructure does not realize, that it is the middle level employees and workers that are helping generate the performance of the company. In addition, the gimmick of outsourcing from large to small companies are raking in short term profits at the expernse of US work force,

Flag Reply +30 rate up
1 reply
baldbiker2 jhbizcon May 27 2014 at 10:04 PM

You act like middle mgt and laborers are not compensated fairly for their efforts? Who do you work for? Do you work at all?

Flag Reply +5 rate up
4 replies
Michael May 27 2014 at 6:20 PM

Disgusting. These idiots are not worth one one hundred of that amount.

Flag Reply +24 rate up
8 replies
Nancy May 27 2014 at 6:15 PM

There should be a law that prohibits wages for the executive level being more than 20 times the lowest paid person in the company. So the hourly worker makes 20K per year then top executives can only be paid 400K and so on. Makes much more sense to me. If bonus money is paid, it should be the same way, employees get no bonus, then execs do not either but if all get bonus then it should be the same rules 20 times the lowest bonus.

Flag Reply +23 rate up
14 replies
weeeally May 27 2014 at 7:03 PM

Hmmmmmm, after viewing the mugshots of all these CEOs, there is no reason for anyone not to believe that there is indeed a "priviledged race" in America. And we all know who that is.

Flag Reply +16 rate up
14 replies
Margie Becker May 27 2014 at 6:00 PM

Les Moonves,, What a shame all that money , Yet he would not help 4 military men start a small 500 ft hot dog stand, People like that go to hell,By now they would have paid him back,, All this fake ass support of the military makes a person sick,,,,, He sure not taking it with him when he dies,,,

Flag Reply +16 rate up
1 reply
Joe Margie Becker May 28 2014 at 9:40 AM


Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
Joe Joe May 28 2014 at 9:42 AM


Flag 0 rate up
aol~~ 1209600


More From Our Partners