United States and World Politics

How Much Does a CEO Make?

Probably More Than You Think

By Tim Sprinkle

Don’t cry for Mark Zuckerberg. He’s doing just fine.

In fact, according to GMI Ratings’ 2013 CEO Pay Survey, released Tuesday, [October 22, 2013] the Facebook (FB) founder was the highest-paid corporate executive in the country in 2012, bringing home a whopping $2.3 billion in salary, bonuses and stock awards.

Zuckerberg is far from alone in seeing his bank account boosted. According to the report, median compensation among corporate CEOs rose 8.47 percent from 2011 to 2012, with pay at S&P 500 companies up 19.65 percent. For the first time ever, the top two CEOs in the survey reported compensation in excess of $1 billion, and all of the executives in the top ten earned at least $100 million.

The GMI report surveyed 2,259 publicly traded North American companies and 2,250 CEOs who had been on the job for at least two consecutive years.

“Our 2013 CEO pay survey marks a third straight year of significant realized compensation increases for North American CEOs,” GMI wrote in its report. “Indeed, the median change in realized compensation from 2011 to 2012 was more than eight percent, less than the double-digit increases of the prior two years but still substantial. However, with minimal increases in Total Annual Compensation across our sample, including base salary, the primary trend throughout the survey is that large pay increases in 2012 were mainly fueled by the exercise of large blocks of stock options and the vesting of outsized restricted stock grants.”

Zuckerberg himself helped prove that point, taking home “just” $503,205 in base salary, but realizing more than $2.276 billion in profits after exercising 60 million stock options.

Here are the top-ten U.S. CEOs in terms of compensation, according to the GMI report.

  1. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook—$2,278,668,214
  2. Richard Kinder, Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI)—$1,116,685,089
  3. Mel Karmazin, Sirius XM Radio (SIRI)—$255,355,676
  4. Greg Maffei, Liberty Media Corp. (LMCA)—$254,890,638
  5. Tim Cook, Apple (AAPL)—$143,828,867
  6. Edward Stack, Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS)—$142,052,496
  7. Greg Maffei, Liberty Interactive (LINTA)—$136,450,484 (in addition to his compensation for serving as CEO of Liberty Media)
  8. Howard Schultz, Starbucks (SBUX)—$117,562,601
  9. Marc Benioff, (CRM)—$109,544,875
  10. Frank Coyne, Verisk Analytics (VRSK)—$100,432,117

Yahoo! Finance, October 22, 2013