How Much Are CEOs Paid? Highest Chief Executive Pay Packages


CEO salaries are growing at the biggest companies in the U.S., while employee wages simultaneously grow but at a slower rate.

A Monday study created for the Associated Press by Equilar paints a broad picture of pay packages awarded to hundreds of CEOs last year.

The study focused on S&P 500 companies, narrowing the list to 341 CEOs in their positions for at least two consecutive years to avoid inflated numbers caused by sign-on bonuses.

Related: Employment Report for April Shows Employers Are Taking Hiring Down a Notch, Employee Wage Growth Slowing

The researchers took public data from proxy statements filed by those companies between January 1 and April 30 and pinpointed how much CEOs made compared to employees in the middle of the company’s pay hierarchy.

They found that last year’s midpoint pay package for CEOs, including base salary, bonuses, perks, and stock awards, was $16.3 million, a 12.6% increase from 2022.

The midpoint base salary for CEOs was $1.3 million, up 4% from 2022, while stock awards grew by 10.7% to $9.4 million.

At the same time, wages for private industry workers rose by a lower 4.1%.

“At half the companies in this year’s pay survey, it would take the worker at the middle of the company’s pay scale almost 200 years to make what their CEO did,” AP stated.

This discrepancy is more acute at the top of the charts, where CEO pay packages at Apple, Broadcom, and Netflix are more than 200 times what the median employee makes.

At Apple, for example, it would take an employee in the middle of the company pay hierarchy 672 years to make as much as CEO Tim Cook makes in a year.

Related: Here’s Why Most CEOs Don’t Take Pay Cuts to Avoid Layoffs

Who are these high-earning CEOs? Broadcom CEO Hock E. Tan tops the list with a pay package of about $162 million.

Broadcom has capitalized on the AI boom by making custom AI chips for major companies. The bulk of Tan’s compensation consists of stock awards valued at $160.5 million.

Though Tesla’s Elon Musk is not on the list, Musk could receive a historic $56 billion pay package if Tesla shareholders vote to ratify it at Tesla’s June 13 annual meeting.

Related: Tesla to Shareholders: Approve CEO Musk’s Record-High Pay

Here are the five CEOs with the highest pay packages in 2023, and how much they make relative to a median employee at the company.

1. Hock E. Tan

Hock Tan, CEO of Broadcom. Photo by Ying Tang/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Company: Broadcom Inc.

Sector: Communications and Tech

Pay Package: $161,826,161

510 times more than the median employee

2. William J. Lansing

Company: Fair Issac Corporation

Sector: Communications and Tech

Pay Package: $66,349,962

653 times more than the median employee

3. Timothy D. Cook

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Company: Apple Inc.

Sector: Communications and Tech

Pay Package: $63,209,845

672 times more than the median employee

4. Hamid R. Moghadam

Company: Prologis, Inc.

Sector: Real Estate

Pay Package: $50,891,597

400 times more than the median employee

5. Theodore A. Sarandos

Company: Netflix, Inc.

Sector: Communications and Tech

Pay Package: $49,834,936

248 times more than the median employee

Click here for the full list.

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