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Who are the Food Industry's 10 Highest-Paid CEOs?

Who are the Food Industry's 10 Highest-Paid CEOs?

The chief executive officer, or the CEO, is at the top of a company’s food chain, and is oftentimes the highest-paid person on the company payroll. At a successful company, the CEO can seriously rake it in, so we decided to take a look and see what the head honchos at some of the biggest food companies are making. Sure enough, their salaries are astronomical.

Who are the Food Industry's 10 Highest-Paid CEOs? (Slideshow)

The individual responsibilities of CEOs vary from company to company, but in all cases they report directly to the board of directors, and when it comes to responsibility for the company’s successes or failures, the buck stops with them. CEOs are responsible for setting the strategy and overall vision of a company, and the direction to take the company in. They decide which new markets to enter, which partnerships to form, and who needs to be hired in order to get it done. They also build the company’s culture, make new hires and fire those who aren’t performing, and set budgets.

Because a CEO can make or break a company, hiring the right one is a tricky, and expensive, process. A great CEO is the best asset a company can have, and for that reason they’re in high demand. If a CEO has a proven track record of helping companies succeed, then he or she can command multi-million dollar salaries, and might find that several different companies will compete with each other, offering sky-high salaries and perks like company stock in order to woo a prized candidate.

The high salary of the CEO is often in stark contrast to meager salaries of the employees, and this tension comes to the surface in the food industry more than any other. For example, last year Nerdwallet figured out that a McDonald’s employee would need to work 3.86 months of overtime straight just to make what the CEO earns in one hour. Second, while the federal minimum wage of $7.25 has remained unchanged for the past five years, CEO compensation has increased by a whopping 109 percent.

While the base salaries hat CEOs make is quite generous, it’s the stock awards and other incentives that really boosts their take-home pay. Take Denise Morrison, the CEO of Campbell’s, for example. Her base salary in 2013 was $991,667, but after stock awards, non-equity incentive plan compensation, change in pension value, and deferred compensation earnings, and “all other compensation,” she took home a total of $8,708,442, according to the AFL-CIO.

According to the AFL-CIO, the highest-paid CEO of 2013 was Oracle’s Larry Ellison, who raked in $78,440,657, followed closely by Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk. While the highest-paid food company CEOs’ salaries don’t quite reach into that level of the stratosphere, they’re still astronomically large. Read on to learn who the 10 highest-paid CEOs in the food world are, and just how much they’re making.

10) Gary Rodkin, ConAgra


This Omaha-based packaged foods company makes and sells foods for supermarkets, restaurants, and food service establishments. Their brands include Healthy Choice, Hunt’s, Orville Redenbacher’s, Wesson oil, Swiss Miss, Reddi-Whip, PAM, and Hebrew National. The company’s CEO, Gary Rodkin, took home $10,711,785 last year.

9) C. Larry Pope, Smithfield


The United States’ largest pork processor was founded in 1936, and today it raises 15 million pigs annually and processes 27 million, producing more than 6 billion pounds of pork. Its president and CEO, C. Larry Pope, made $10,778,390 in 2013.

Click here to learn which 8 CEOs are the highest-paid in the food industry.


Here’s how the pay of CEOs of Minnesota’s biggest companies compares to their average workers

A we're-hiring sign is posted outside of a Target store on Feb. 12, 2019 in Sausalito, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

CEO pay at Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies was 278 times more on average than the pay of median workers at their companies in 2018, an analysis of data from company proxy statements shows.

The Dodd Frank Act’s requirement that public companies report ratios of CEO-to-median worker pay, effective in 2018, was met with protest by many corporations, while labor advocates cheered the mandate as a window into what they deem excessive executive pay. In Minnesota, the ratios span a wide range, from 110-to-1 at agricultural cooperative CHS, Inc. to 767-to-1 at Target.

CEO pay in the United States has ballooned in the last several decades, increasing roughly 940% from 1978 to 2018 at the nation’s 350 largest companies, adjusted for inflation, according to the Economic Policy Institute , a nonpartisan, think tank. Meanwhile, wages of the typical worker have grown 11.9%. Back in 1978, CEOs made about 30 times more than the average worker, a ratio that has exploded since then.

Researchers haven’t found a definitive explanation for the growth in executive compensation, but studies have pointed to a few possible reasons, including an increase in the size of U.S. firm s and CEOs’ abilities to find new investment opportunities . The spike in executive pay accounts for at least some of the rise in income inequality in the United States, experts say, as most income gain in the last few decades has gone to the country’s top-paid employees.

Congress didn’t specify why it directed the Securities and Exchanges Commission to adopt the pay ratio disclosure rule under the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010 to increase regulations on the financial industry following the financial crisis of 2008. Based on the legislation, the SEC determined its intent is to give shareholders more information to evaluate CEO compensation. Two years after the rule went into effect, researchers haven’t identified a significant impact from the pay ratio disclosures.

The CEO compensation ratio can provide a snapshot of pay distribution at public companies, but the data comes with a few caveats. Importantly, the Securities and Exchange Commission didn’t specify exactly how companies should calculate compensation, so they use different methodologies to come up with the figures for example, some companies include overtime pay in their median worker calculations, while others do not.

Additionally, the median worker can look vastly different depending on the company and industry. At Target — which had the highest CEO-to-median worker pay ratio in Minnesota, and the lowest median worker pay — the median worker is part-time, the company noted in its proxy statement . A large proportion of Best Buy’s employees are part-time as well, a Best Buy spokesperson wrote in an email to Minnesota Reformer.

A Target store employee collects shopping carts to bring back into the store on Aug. 21, 2019 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The pay ratio tends to depend more on median worker pay than the executive’s compensation, a study by consulting firm Pearl Meyer found . The median worker made less than $14,000 at eight of the 10 United States companies with the highest pay ratios, according to an Equilar report of the nation’s 200 highest-paid CEOs .

Researchers have found that ratios also vary by industry. Companies in the consumer sectors — like retailers and food manufacturers — have the highest ratios, while those in financials and utilities have the lowest, according to Pearl Meyer.

An Xcel Energy spokesperson said in an email to Minnesota Reformer that CEO Ben Fowke’s pay — which totaled $12.1 million in 2018, while the median employee earned $108,946 — is largely performance-based and linked to goals like reducing carbon emissions. The company’s carbon emissions dropped 38% between 2005 and 2018, according to its website.

“Our executive compensation is market competitive, provides vested interest in the company’s long-term success by awarding equity grants and is strongly tied to achieving superior business results. Our compensation programs encourage high-performing executives to stay and continue leading Xcel Energy,” a statement from the company reads.

Ecolab’s CEO compensation is also “market-competitive,” a spokesperson said in an email to Minnesota Reformer. An outside firm determined the pay was “aligned with performance, and that the company’s compensation practices are of low concern,” the spokesperson wrote.

At Ecolab, the median employee made $54,285, according to its 2019 proxy statement, while CEO Douglas Baker Jr. was compensated $14.3 million. The company’s revenues increased 6% year-over-year in 2018, to $146.6 billion, according to its annual report.

A General Mills spokesperson said in an email that the company believes its executive pay — $9.8 million for CEO Jeff Harmening in fiscal year 2019, compared to $57,177 for the median employee — is in line with industry averages. General Mills is “transparent on how we compensate executives with a focus on long-term incentives built around company performance,” the spokesperson said in an email to Minnesota Reformer.


Meet Wall Street’s Highest-Paid CEOs

Asset management can pay pretty well—especially if you found your own firm.

SNL Financial LC released its rankings of the highest-compensated chief executives on Wall Street this week, from asset manager to broker dealers and investment banks. Seven of the 10 highest-paid CEOs in 2014 came from the asset-management industry. In fact, the five with the biggest pay checks all ran asset managers they founded.

Gamco Investors Inc. CEO Mario Gabelli took top honors for the fifth consecutive year, with his total compensation reaching $88.5 million. A majority of Mr. Gabelli’s pay came from his role as a portfolio manager of a number of Gamco funds. He also earned $14.4 million from a unique employment agreement that entitles him to an incentive-based management fee in the amount of 10% of the company’s aggregate pretax profit.

The biggest mover on the list was Blackstone Group LP CEO Stephen Schwarzman. He collected $85.9 million in compensation last year, nearly four times the $22 million in 2013.

Henry Kravis and George Roberts, co-chairmen and co-CEOs of KKR & Co., rounded out the list of executives making more than $60 million last year. Laurence Fink of BlackRock Inc. earned $23.9 million, good enough for the fifth spot.


Are C.E.O.s Paid Too Much?

Is the gap in compensation between executives and their employees too big?

Students in U.S. high schools can get free digital access to The New York Times until Sept. 1, 2021.

Should some workers be paid more than others? How much more? What factors should determine an employee's pay?

In your opinion, how much should a chief executive officer, or C.E.O., be compensated compared to the rest of a company’s workers? This graph, from our collection of 28 New York Times graphs to help students learn about inequality, depicts how the ratio of executive compensation to average worker pay has changed over time:

What do you notice about this graph? What do you wonder?

In “C.E.O. Pay Remains Stratospheric, Even at Companies Battered by Pandemic,” David Gelles writes that some of the same companies that laid off thousands of workers during the pandemic still paid their C.E.O.s handsomely:

Boeing had a historically bad 2020. Its 737 Max was grounded for most of the year after two deadly crashes, the pandemic decimated its business, and the company announced plans to lay off 30,000 workers and reported a $12 billion loss. Nonetheless, its chief executive, David Calhoun, was rewarded with some $21.1 million in compensation.

Norwegian Cruise Line barely survived the year. With the cruise industry at a standstill, the company lost $4 billion and furloughed 20 percent of its staff. That didn’t stop Norwegian from more than doubling the pay of Frank Del Rio, its chief executive, to $36.4 million.

And at Hilton, where nearly a quarter of the corporate staff were laid off as hotels around the world sat empty and the company lost $720 million, it was a good year for the man in charge. Hilton reported in a securities filing that Chris Nassetta, its chief executive, received compensation worth $55.9 million in 2020.

The coronavirus plunged the world into an economic crisis, sent the U.S. unemployment rate skyrocketing and left millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet. Yet at many of the companies hit hardest by the pandemic, the executives in charge were showered with riches.

The divergent fortunes of C.E.O.s and everyday workers illustrate the sharp divides in a nation on the precipice of an economic boom but still racked by steep income inequality. The stock markets are up and the wealthy are spending freely, but millions are still facing significant hardship. Executives are minting fortunes while laid-off workers line up at food banks.

The gap between executive compensation and average worker pay has been growing for decades. Chief executives of big companies now make, on average, 320 times as much as their typical worker, according to the Economic Policy Institute. In 1989, that ratio was 61 to 1. From 1978 to 2019, compensation grew 14 percent for typical workers. It rose 1,167 percent for C.E.O.s.

The pandemic only compounded these disparities, as hundreds of companies awarded their leaders pay packages worth significantly more than most Americans will make in their entire lives.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

Do C.E.O.s make too much money? Do you think their pay is too high relative to that of the average worker? Why or why not?

In your opinion, what factors should determine an employee’s pay? To what extent do you think there should there be differences in pay between workers? How big should those differences be, and upon what criteria should they be based?

Do you think executives who made more money during the pandemic were justified in doing so? Why or why not?

What do you know about how wealth is distributed in the United States? Do you think C.E.O. pay should be reconsidered in the context of stark wealth and income inequality and pay gaps along racial and gender lines? (For example, a 2020 New York Times review found that of the people at the top of the 25 highest-valued companies in the United States, only six are Asian or Black all of them are men.)

Do you think income inequality is a problem? Why or why not? If so, do you think efforts to close the gap should focus on limiting the income of the highest-paid workers, increasing the income of the lowest-paid, or both?

About Student Opinion

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Students 13 and older in the United States and the United Kingdom, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.


The 10 Highest-Paid Software and Services CEOs

The median pay figure for the software and services industry was $10.7 million, below the overall median for full-year CEOs at all S&P 500 companies.

Theo Francis

The highest-paid software executive of 2017? That was Gary Norcross, chief executive of Fidelity National Information Services Inc., at $29.1 million.

Fidelity National, also known as FIS, is a bank-technology provider. Mr. Norcross has led the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company since January 2015. His total compensation increased 46% from $20 million the previous year, according to regulatory filings. The company’s total shareholder return, which reflects share-price appreciation and dividends, was 26% last year.

A spokeswoman said $11.1 million of Mr. Norcross’s pay last year included a special bonus for integrating SunGard, which FIS acquired in late 2015. She said most of his pay is tied closely to performance and aligned with shareholder interests.

The median pay figure for the software and services industry, which included 24 full-year CEOs as of April 30, was $10.7 million, below the overall median of $12.1 million for full-year CEOs at all S&P 500 companies, according to a Journal analysis of proxy filings by S&P 500 firms. Median total return for software companies was 33%, compared with about 19% overall.

Low-paid founders helped bring the median pay down. Larry Page, CEO of Google parent Alphabet Inc., made just $1. Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg made $8.9 million, most of which consisted of personal and home-security services.


These are the highest-paid CEOs at America’s largest companies

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Corrections and Clarifications: A previous version of this story named the incorrect CEO for PepsiCo and listed the incorrect compensation for Oscar Munoz. Sean O'Connor was included in this list in error and has been removed.

Chief executive officers are the highest-ranking – and often highest-profile – employees of any company or organization. They are also usually the highest paid. There are even some major companies where CEOs make over 1,000 times what their employees make.

Whether or not such a pay gap is justified is a matter of debate. The pressures that come with the top job at any major American company, however, are undeniable. CEOs of publicly traded companies are accountable to customers, regulators, shareholders, board members, and their own employees – in both good times and bad.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed CEO compensation packages at the largest, publicly traded American companies by revenue. With only a few exceptions, the largest companies report CEO compensation packages of at least seven figures. The vast majority of these CEOs earn eight figures annually. Some of these CEOs are the richest person in their state and even among the richest in the country.

To rank the highest paid CEOs at America’s largest companies, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed total CEO compensation for the 150 largest public companies with the highest reported revenue for the year ended Dec. 31, 2017, unless otherwise noted, as reported by Forbes.

All compensation figures and employee counts are as of the last published proxy statement or last published 10-K statement. At some companies, the CEO listed in the most recent proxy no longer holds the top job and is listed as retired.

Because software company Oracle has two CEOs, 101 CEOs are included on this list. We included companies that have been merged, acquired, or have gone private since the reported compensation period.

Michael Kaufmann, CEO of Cardinal Health. (Photo: Courtesy of Cardinal Health)

100. Michael Kaufmann
• Most recent annual compensation: $8.4 million
• Company: Cardinal Health
• Revenue: $130.0 billion
• Number of employees: 40,400

99. Pietro Satriano
• Most recent annual compensation: $8.6 million
• Company: US Foods Holding
• Revenue: $24.1 billion
• Number of employees: 25,204

98. Thomas Bené
• Most recent annual compensation: $8.8 million
• Company: Sysco
• Revenue: $55.4 billion
• Number of employees: 45,900

97. Mark Parker
• Most recent annual compensation: $9.5 million
• Company: Nike
• Revenue: $34.4 billion
• Number of employees: 74,400

96. Tom Hayes
• Most recent annual compensation: $9.5 million (stepped down)
• Company: Tyson Foods
• Revenue: $38.3 billion
• Number of employees: 114,000

95. Oscar Munoz
• Most recent annual compensation: $10.5 million
• Company: United Continental Holdings
• Revenue: $37.7 billion
• Number of employees: 89,800

94. Charles Lowrey
• Most recent annual compensation: $10.4 million
• Company: Prudential Financial
• Revenue: $59.7 billion
• Number of employees: 49,705

93. Todd Vasos
• Most recent annual compensation: $10.6 million
• Company: Dollar General
• Revenue: $23.5 billion
• Number of employees: 129,000

92. Craig Menear
• Most recent annual compensation: $11.4 million
• Company: Home Depot
• Revenue: $100.9 billion
• Number of employees: 413,000

91. Steven Collis
• Most recent annual compensation: $11.5 million
• Company: AmerisourceBergen
• Revenue: $153.1 billion
• Number of employees: 19,500

90. W. Rodney McMullen
• Most recent annual compensation: $11.5 million
• Company: Kroger
• Revenue: $122.7 billion
• Number of employees: 449,000

89. W. Douglas Parker
• Most recent annual compensation: $12.2 million
• Company: American Airlines Group
• Revenue: $42.2 billion
• Number of employees: 126,600

88. Antonio Neri
• Most recent annual compensation: $12.6 million
• Company: Hewlett Packard Enterprise
• Revenue: $28.9 billion
• Number of employees: 66,000

87. Jeff Gennette
• Most recent annual compensation: $12.7 million
• Company: Macy's
• Revenue: $24.8 billion
• Number of employees: 148,300

86. Michael Roman
• Most recent annual compensation: $12.9 million
• Company: 3M
• Revenue: $31.7 billion
• Number of employees: 91,536

85. Arne Sorenson
• Most recent annual compensation: $12.9 million
• Company: Marriott International
• Revenue: $22.9 billion
• Number of employees: 177,000

84. Thomas Fanning
• Most recent annual compensation: $13.1 million
• Company: Southern
• Revenue: $23.0 billion
• Number of employees: 31,344

83. Edward Bastian
• Most recent annual compensation: $13.2 million
• Company: Delta Air Lines
• Revenue: $41.2 billion
• Number of employees: 86,564

82. Kevin Johnson
• Most recent annual compensation: $13.4 million
• Company: Starbucks
• Revenue: $22.4 billion
• Number of employees: 277,000

81. Andrew Cecere
• Most recent annual compensation: $13.4 million
• Company: U.S. Bancorp
• Revenue: $24.0 billion
• Number of employees: 72,402

80. Stefano Pessina
• Most recent annual compensation: $13.5 million
• Company: Walgreens Boots Alliance
• Revenue: $118.2 billion
• Number of employees: 290,000

79. Edward Breen
• Most recent annual compensation: $13.8 million
• Company: DowDuPont Inc.
• Revenue: $62.7 billion
• Number of employees: 98,600

Lynn Good, CEO of Duke Energy. (Photo: Photo by Scott Halleran / Getty Images for KPMG)

78. Lynn Good
• Most recent annual compensation: $14.0 million
• Company: Duke Energy
• Revenue: $23.2 billion
• Number of employees: 29,060

77. Jim Umpleby
• Most recent annual compensation: $14.0 million
• Company: Caterpillar
• Revenue: $45.6 billion
• Number of employees: 98,400

76. Susan Patricia Griffith
• Most recent annual compensation: $14.2 million
• Company: Progressive
• Revenue: $26.8 billion
• Number of employees: 33,656

75. Gail Boudreaux
• Most recent annual compensation: $14.2 million
• Company: Anthem
• Revenue: $90.0 billion
• Number of employees: 56,000

74. Marvin Ellison
• Most recent annual compensation: $14.3 million
• Company: Lowe's
• Revenue: $68.6 billion
• Number of employees: 255,000

73. Alan Schnitzer
• Most recent annual compensation: $14.6 million
• Company: Travelers Cos.
• Revenue: $28.9 billion
• Number of employees: 30,800

72. Steven Kandarian
• Most recent annual compensation: $14.7 million
• Company: MetLife
• Revenue: $66.2 billion
• Number of employees: 49,000

71. Dirk Van de Put
• Most recent annual compensation: $15.0 million
• Company: Mondelez International
• Revenue: $25.9 billion
• Number of employees: 90,000

70. David Abney
• Most recent annual compensation: $15.1 million
• Company: UPS
• Revenue: $65.9 billion
• Number of employees: 346,415

69. Michael Long
• Most recent annual compensation: $15.3 million
• Company: Arrow Electronics
• Revenue: $26.8 billion
• Number of employees: 18,800

68. Christopher Crane
• Most recent annual compensation: $15.6 million
• Company: Exelon
• Revenue: $33.5 billion
• Number of employees: 34,621

67. Tim Cook
• Most recent annual compensation: $15.7 million
• Company: Apple
• Revenue: $229.2 billion
• Number of employees: 123,000

66. Stephen Easterbrook
• Most recent annual compensation: $15.9 million
• Company: McDonald's
• Revenue: $22.8 billion
• Number of employees: 375,000

65. Timothy Wentworth
• Most recent annual compensation: $15.9 million
• Company: Express Scripts Holding (since acquired by Cigna)
• Revenue: $100.1 billion
• Number of employees: 26,600

64. André Calantzopoulos
• Most recent annual compensation: $15.9 million
• Company: Philip Morris International
• Revenue: $28.7 billion
• Number of employees: 80,600

63. Bruce D. Broussard
• Most recent annual compensation: $16.3 million
• Company: Humana
• Revenue: $53.8 billion
• Number of employees: 45,900

62. Thomas Kennedy
• Most recent annual compensation: $16.3 million
• Company: Raytheon
• Revenue: $25.3 billion
• Number of employees: 64,000

61. James Quincey
• Most recent annual compensation: $16.4 million
• Company: Coca-Cola
• Revenue: $35.4 billion
• Number of employees: 61,800

60. John Flannery
• Most recent annual compensation: $16.6 million (stepped down)
• Company: General Electric
• Revenue: $122.3 billion
• Number of employees: 313,000

Robert Swan, CEO of Intel. (Photo: Courtesy of Intel)

59. Robert Swan
• Most recent annual compensation: $16.7 million
• Company: Intel
• Revenue: $62.8 billion
• Number of employees: 102,700

58. Hubert Joly
• Most recent annual compensation: $16.8 million
• Company: Best Buy
• Revenue: $42.2 billion
• Number of employees: 125,000

57. Ernie Herrman
• Most recent annual compensation: $16.9 million
• Company: TJX
• Revenue: $35.9 billion
• Number of employees: 235,000

56. David Ricks
• Most recent annual compensation: $17.2 million
• Company: Eli Lilly
• Revenue: $22.9 billion
• Number of employees: 40,655

55. Richard Fairbank
• Most recent annual compensation: $17.3 million
• Company: Capital One Financial
• Revenue: $30.0 billion
• Number of employees: 49,300

54. S.J. Squeri
• Most recent annual compensation: $17.3 million
• Company: American Express
• Revenue: $35.6 billion
• Number of employees: 55,000

53. David Taylor
• Most recent annual compensation: $17.4 million
• Company: Procter & Gamble
• Revenue: $66.2 billion
• Number of employees: 95,000

52. David Wichmann
• Most recent annual compensation: $17.4 million
• Company: UnitedHealth Group
• Revenue: $201.2 billion
• Number of employees: 260,000

51. V.M. Rometty
• Most recent annual compensation: $17.6 million
• Company: IBM
• Revenue: $79.1 billion
• Number of employees: 366,000

50. Gregory Hayes
• Most recent annual compensation: $17.6 million
• Company: United Technologies
• Revenue: $59.8 billion
• Number of employees: 204,700

49. James Hackett
• Most recent annual compensation: $17.8 million
• Company: Ford Motor
• Revenue: $156.8 billion
• Number of employees: 202,000

48. John Hammergren
• Most recent annual compensation: $18.1 million (stepped down)
• Company: McKesson
• Revenue: $198.5 billion
• Number of employees: 64,500

47. Alex Gorsky
• Most recent annual compensation: $18.2 million
• Company: Johnson & Johnson
• Revenue: $76.5 billion
• Number of employees: 134,000

46. Timothy Sloan
• Most recent annual compensation: $18.4 million (stepped down)
• Company: Wells Fargo
• Revenue: $97.7 billion
• Number of employees: 262,700

45. Samuel Allen
• Most recent annual compensation: $18.5 million
• Company: Deere
• Revenue: $29.7 billion
• Number of employees: 60,476

44. Robert Bradway
• Most recent annual compensation: $18.6 million
• Company: Amgen
• Revenue: $22.8 billion
• Number of employees: 20,800

43. Thomas Wilson
• Most recent annual compensation: $18.7 million
• Company: Allstate
• Revenue: $38.5 billion
• Number of employees: 42,680

42. Mark Bertolini
• Most recent annual compensation: $18.8 million
• Company: Aetna (since sold to CVS)
• Revenue: $60.5 billion
• Number of employees: 47,950

41. Joseph Gorder
• Most recent annual compensation: $18.8 million
• Company: Valero Energy
• Revenue: $88.4 billion
• Number of employees: 10,015

40. Darren Woods
• Most recent annual compensation: $18.8 million
• Company: Exxon Mobil
• Revenue: $244.4 billion
• Number of employees: 71,200

David Cordani, CEO of Cigna. (Photo: Cigna Corporation / Wikimedia Commons)

39. David Cordani
• Most recent annual compensation: $18.9 million
• Company: Cigna
• Revenue: $41.6 billion
• Number of employees: 46,000

38. Dion Weisler
• Most recent annual compensation: $19.2 million
• Company: HP
• Revenue: $52.1 billion
• Number of employees: 49,000

37. Darius Adamczyk
• Most recent annual compensation: $19.2 million
• Company: Honeywell International
• Revenue: $40.5 billion
• Number of employees: 131,000

36. Greg Garland
• Most recent annual compensation: $19.3 million
• Company: Phillips 66
• Revenue: $91.6 billion
• Number of employees: 14,600

35. I. Read
• Most recent annual compensation: $19.5 million (stepped down)
• Company: Pfizer
• Revenue: $52.5 billion
• Number of employees: 90,200

34. J. R. Luciano
• Most recent annual compensation: $19.6 million
• Company: Archer Daniels Midland
• Revenue: $60.8 billion
• Number of employees: 31,300

33. Steve MollenKopf
• Most recent annual compensation: $20.0 million
• Company: Qualcomm
• Revenue: $22.9 billion
• Number of employees: 33,800

32. M.K. Wirth
• Most recent annual compensation: $20.6 million
• Company: Chevron
• Revenue: $134.5 billion
• Number of employees: 51,900

31. David Solomon
• Most recent annual compensation: $20.7 million
• Company: Goldman Sachs Group
• Revenue: $42.3 billion
• Number of employees: 36,600

30. Phebe Novakovic
• Most recent annual compensation: $20.7 million
• Company: General Dynamics
• Revenue: $31.0 billion
• Number of employees: 98,800

29. Brian Duperreault
• Most recent annual compensation: $20.9 million
• Company: AIG
• Revenue: $49.5 billion
• Number of employees: 49,800

28. Kenneth Frazier
• Most recent annual compensation: $20.9 million
• Company: Merck
• Revenue: $40.1 billion
• Number of employees: 69,000

27. Richard Gonzalez
• Most recent annual compensation: $21.3 million
• Company: AbbVie
• Revenue: $28.2 billion
• Number of employees: 29,000

26. Charles Robbins
• Most recent annual compensation: $21.3 million
• Company: Cisco Systems
• Revenue: $48.0 billion
• Number of employees: 72,900

25. R. Milton Johnson
• Most recent annual compensation: $21.4 million (stepped down)
• Company: HCA Healthcare
• Revenue: $47.7 billion
• Number of employees: 221,491

24. Marillyn Hewson
• Most recent annual compensation: $21.5 million
• Company: Lockheed Martin
• Revenue: $51.0 billion
• Number of employees: 100,000

23. Mary Barra
• Most recent annual compensation: $21.9 million
• Company: General Motors
• Revenue: $157.3 billion
• Number of employees: 180,000

22. Mark Sutton
• Most recent annual compensation: $21.9 million
• Company: International Paper
• Revenue: $23.3 billion
• Number of employees: 56,000

21. Larry Merlo
• Most recent annual compensation: $21.9 million
• Company: CVS Health
• Revenue: $184.8 billion
• Number of employees: 203,000

20. Hans Vestberg
• Most recent annual compensation: $22.2 million
• Company: Verizon
• Revenue: $126.0 billion
• Number of employees: 155,400

Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon. (Photo: [email protected] / Flickr)

19. Mark Zuckerberg
• Most recent annual compensation: $22.6 million
• Company: Facebook
• Revenue: $40.7 billion
• Number of employees: 25,105

18. Brian Moynihan
• Most recent annual compensation: $22.8 million
• Company: Bank of America Corp.
• Revenue: $100.3 billion
• Number of employees: 209,376

17. C. Douglas McMillon
• Most recent annual compensation: $22.8 million
• Company: Walmart
• Revenue: $500.3 billion
• Number of employees: 2,300,000

16. Dennis Muilenburg
• Most recent annual compensation: $23.4 million
• Company: Boeing
• Revenue: $93.4 billion
• Number of employees: 140,800

15. R.M. Lance
• Most recent annual compensation: $23.4 million
• Company: ConocoPhillips
• Revenue: $32.6 billion
• Number of employees: 11,400

14. Michael Corbat
• Most recent annual compensation: $24.2 million
• Company: Citigroup
• Revenue: $88.0 billion
• Number of employees: 209,000

13. Wesley Bush
• Most recent annual compensation: $24.2 million (stepped down)
• Company: Northrop Grumman
• Revenue: $25.8 billion
• Number of employees: 70,000

12. Miles White
• Most recent annual compensation: $24.3 million
• Company: Abbott Laboratories
• Revenue: $27.4 billion
• Number of employees: 99,000

11. Indra Nooyi
• Most recent annual compensation: $24.5 million (stepped down)
• Company: PepsiCo
• Revenue: $62.8 billion
• Number of employees: 263,000

10. Satya Nadella
• Most recent annual compensation: $25.8 million
• Company: Microsoft
• Revenue: $90.0 billion
• Number of employees: 124,000

9. John Milligan
• Most recent annual compensation: $26.0 million (stepped down)
• Company: Gilead Sciences
• Revenue: $26.1 billion
• Number of employees: 10,000

8. Michael Neidorff
• Most recent annual compensation: $26.1 million
• Company: Centene
• Revenue: $48.6 billion
• Number of employees: 33,700

7. James Gorman
• Most recent annual compensation: $28.2 million
• Company: Morgan Stanley
• Revenue: $43.6 billion
• Number of employees: 57,633

6. R. Stephenson
• Most recent annual compensation: $29.1 million
• Company: AT&T
• Revenue: $160.5 billion
• Number of employees: 254,000

5. James Dimon
• Most recent annual compensation: $31.0 million
• Company: J.P. Morgan Chase
• Revenue: $113.9 billion
• Number of employees: 252,539

4. Brian Roberts
• Most recent annual compensation: $32.5 million
• Company: Comcast
• Revenue: $84.5 billion
• Number of employees: 164,000

3. Robert Iger
• Most recent annual compensation: $65.6 million
• Company: Disney
• Revenue: $55.1 billion
• Number of employees: 199,000

2. Safra Catz
• Most recent annual compensation: $108.3 million (tie)
• Company: Oracle
• Revenue: $37.7 billion
• Number of employees: 138,000

1. Mark Hurd
• Most recent annual compensation: $108.3 million (tie)
• Company: Oracle
• Revenue: $37.7 billion
• Number of employees: 138,000

Mark Hurd, co-CEO of Oracle. (Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

24/7 Wall Street is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.


Apple's Cook Tops the List of Highest-Paid CEOs

Steve Jobs left big shoes. Apple Inc. is betting $378 million that Tim Cook is the right guy to fill them.

That is the value of the annual pay package Mr. Cook was awarded last August, when he was named Apple chief executive, about two months before Mr. Jobs died. Nearly all of the compensation stems from a grant of one million shares of restricted stock, valued at $376.2 million, based on Apple's stock price at the time.

Mr. Cook's 2011 compensation is the highest recorded in The Wall Street Journal's annual CEO pay survey since at least 2006, when the Securities and Exchange Commission changed its rules for reporting executive pay.

The shares carry unusual restrictions. Mr. Cook can't sell half the shares before 2016, and the other half before 2021. Still, the rapid run-up in Apple's stock means the shares are now valued at $530 million.

In its proxy statement, Apple said it viewed the shares as compensation for the next 10 years, and not solely for 2011. An Apple spokesman declined to make additional comment.


Energy industry leader tops SA’s highest-paid public company CEOs

Oil refiner Valero Energy Corp.'s Joe Gorder tops the list of the San Antonio area's highest-paid public company CEOs for 2019.

Gorder's total compensation for 2019 was $28.2 million, up from $18.8 million in 2018, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That total includes multiple forms of compensation, including $1.7 million in salary, a $4.1 million bonus, $14.5 million in stock awards, a $7.5 million change in pension value and $384,999 in other compensation, according to Valero's recent proxy statement filed with the SEC.

The change in pension value is primarily due to fluctuations in interest rates and impact on discount rate and present value calculations, Valero (NYSE: VLO) spokeswoman Lillian Riojas said in an email. In 2018, Gorder's pension value increased by $1.35 million. Gorder's stock awards for 2019 were up by nearly $4.6 million, while his bonus in 2019 decreased by $525,000 from 2018, resulting in a reduction in cash compensation.

Riojas said that over 91% of Valero's shareholders approved the company's executive pay and that those who didn't "were primarily European investors who prefer or follow the European compensation model." And she said third-party rating agencies, such as Equillar, consider Valero's executive compensation as well aligned with shareholders' interests.

San Antonio-based Valero reported net income of $2.4 billion for 2019, down $700 million from 2018, according to recent filings.

Coming in fourth on the list is Victory Capital Holdings Inc. CEO David Brown, a relative newcomer to San Antonio. The global investment management firm moved its headquarters to San Antonio from Cleveland late last year.

Victory Capital (Nasdaq: VCTR) generated $204 million in revenue during first quarter 2020, up 134% from $87 million in the same period last year, according to a recent filing. Its net income for the quarter was $73.9 million, up from $19.3 million last year. This is due mostly to an increase in the average amount of assets under management after the Ad


The Top Ten Highest Paid CEOs

In The Wall Street Journal's annual survey of 200 big companies with revenue over $4 billion, median total direct CEO compensation declined slightly -- 0.9% to $6.95 million, mainly because of smaller equity awards and corporate belt-tightening. But plenty of CEOs still scored big paydays.

Here's a list of the top ten by total direct compensation, which includes salary, annual incentives and long term incentives. For the full CEO pay report, including the list of 200 CEOs pay and related articles, click here.

1. Ray Irani, Occidental Petroleum Corp. Mr. Irani was awarded total direct compensation of $52.2 million, up from $49.9 million in 2008. Neither figure includes $96.5 million that Mr. Irani gained last year through exercising stock options and vesting of restricted stock. Mr. Irani's $52.2 million total primarily reflects the initial or target value of incentive awards linked to Occidental's financial and stock performance.

The oil company's directors believe in "excellent pay for excellent performance," and Mr. Irani's leadership resulted "in exceptional returns for stockholders," said a spokesman. From 2007 through 2009, Occidental posted shareholder returns averaging 20.6% a year, sixth among companies in the Journal survey. Total shareholder return is the stock-price change plus reinvested dividends.


Millionaire CEOs should support a living wage for fast-food workers

Business leaders have every right to voice concerns about a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Anything that could cut into profits is a legitimate worry for companies.

But the spectacle of millionaire CEOs opposing a living wage for their workers serves only to highlight the obscene income gap between those at the top and everyone else whose contributions help keep the corporate wheels turning.

Sally Smith, chief executive of the restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings, said last week that a $15 minimum hourly wage would hurt teens seeking their first paying job. Restaurants, she said, would favor people with more experience.

Buffalo Wild Wings has two outlets in Los Angeles, which has approved raising the minimum wage to $15 over the next five years, and one in Pasadena.

Smith received compensation worth $4 million last year, making her one of the 10 highest-paid CEOs in the restaurant industry, according to the financial website the Motley Fool.

Maybe it’s a bit of a cheap shot to cite Smith’s pay in the same breath as presenting her thoughts on the minimum-wage issue. Because she’s right: A $15-an-hour wage could prompt employers to favor more experienced workers over newcomers.

But that doesn’t mitigate the perversity of someone in the top 0.5% income bracket actively trying to prevent her underlings from making enough to afford a one-room apartment and put food on the table.

Smith’s comments came just a week after Dunkin’ Donuts’ CEO, Nigel Travis, was quoted as saying that a $15 minimum hourly wage for fast-food workers is “absolutely outrageous.”

His compensation more than doubled last year to $10.2 million.

Christopher Faricy, an assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University, told me it’s reasonable to set minimum wages at different levels in different parts of the country. But for CEOs making gobs of money, he said, “fighting against a living wage comes across as heartless.”

Earnings have been largely stagnant for working stiffs. Wages and salaries rose a record-low 0.2% in the second quarter, the Labor Department said Friday, making the first quarter’s 0.7% growth seem meteoric by comparison.

The typical CEO, on the other hand, made more than 300 times as much as ordinary workers last year, according to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute.

It found that each of the heads of the largest U.S. companies was pulling down an average $16.3 million, which represented a more than 54% pay hike since the end of the financial crisis in 2009.

Since 1978, inflation-adjusted CEO pay has climbed — wait for it — nearly 1,000%, the report found. Wages for ordinary workers, meanwhile, rose just 11% over the same period.

The consulting firm Deloitte reported last year that the average German CEO made 147 times what the typical worker made, the average British CEO’s pay was 84 times greater than workers’, and Japanese CEOs scraped by with just 67 times what underlings earned.

The average American worker was paid $36,134 last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I reached out to both Buffalo Wild Wings and Dunkin’ Donuts to see whether they wanted to walk back their boss’ remarks or address how anyone could live on current minimum wages in pricey places like L.A.

A spokeswoman for Buffalo Wild Wings said Smith’s comments “were about the unintended consequences on youth employment” and that “she did not discuss how workers in costly places like L.A. could get by on current wages.”

A spokeswoman for Dunkin’ said Travis supports “reasonable increases to the minimum wage at the state and local level.” But she said Dunkin’ Donuts is against “unfairly” targeting fast-food chains for higher wages, even though these are where many minimum-wage workers are employed.

The reality is that opponents of a higher minimum wage are being shortsighted. They forget that Henry Ford famously boosted his workers’ pay in 1914 because he wanted them to afford his cars and he didn’t want them leaving for better jobs.

They also overlook that, adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968 at $8.54 an hour (in 2014 dollars), according to Pew Research. Since it was last raised in 2009 to the current $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum has lost about 8.1% of its purchasing power because of higher cost-of-living expenses.

In other words, minimum-wage workers are making less now than they did nearly half a century ago

“We have mounting evidence that raising the minimum wage won’t increase unemployment,” said Linda Rosenstock, dean emeritus of UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. “If anything, it will create benefits for employers.”

For example, she said, a living wage improves employee morale, which in turn boosts productivity and reduces costly turnover.

Rosenstock said recent research has shown that low pay can take a toll on workers’ health by forcing them to hold multiple jobs or perform double shifts, and to not seek medical treatment when needed. This can result in higher absenteeism.

“Raising the minimum wage can address that,” she said.

Millionaire CEOs need to take their focus off the next quarterly earnings statement and acknowledge that paying workers a living wage is good for long-term business. It makes for better, harder-working employees.

It also makes for more consumer spending because people have more cash in their pockets.

If I was in the chicken wings or doughnuts business, I’d think that’s something worth supporting.

David Lazarus’ column runs Tuesdays and Fridays. He also can be seen daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5 and followed on Twitter @Davidlaz. Send your tips or feedback to [email protected]

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David Lazarus is an award-winning business columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He also appears daily on KTLA Channel 5. His work runs in newspapers across the country and has resulted in a variety of laws protecting consumers.

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