Median CEO pay crosses $10 million in 2013
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 after a decline during the Great Recession. The median CEO pay package climbed more than 50 percent over that stretch. A chief executive 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 the discount retail giant TJX, owner of TJ Maxx and Marshall's. Her $20.7 million ranked 33d.
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. 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.
The highest-paid CEO was Anthony Petrello of the 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 renegotiate 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. His 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.
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 Top 10
The highest-paid CEOs of 2013:
1. Anthony Petrello, Nabors Industries, $68.2 million,
up 246 percent.
2. Leslie Moonves, CBS,
up 9 percent.
3. Richard Adkerson, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, $55.3 million,
up 294 percent.
4. Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor, $39 million,
up 510 percent.
5. Philippe Dauman, Viacom,
up 11 percent.
6. Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals,
up 21 percent.
7. Robert Iger,
up 46 percent.
8. David Zaslav, Discovery Communications, $33.3 million,
down 33 percent.
9. Jeffrey Bewkes, Time Warner,
up 27 percent.
10. Brian Roberts, Comcast,
up 8 percent.
SOURCES: Associated Press and Equilar, an executive-pay research firm