These are the country’s 100 most overpaid CEOs

In 2019, the common high CEO’s pay elevated 14% from 2018 to $21.3 million. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s mother or father firm, Alphabet, earned $280,621,552 in whole compensation—greater than 1,000 occasions the revenue of a median firm worker.

Pichai tops the new record of “100 Most Overpaid CEOs,” the seventh annual report printed by As You Sow, a nonprofit selling company social duty via shareholder advocacy. The report, subtitled “Are Fund Managers Asleep at the Wheel?” finds that, whereas shareholder opposition to this extra is rising, a lot of the greatest monetary fiduciaries nonetheless didn’t vote towards extreme CEO pay in final yr’s annual shareholder conferences.

The report calculates how a lot CEOs ought to have earned in 2019 based mostly on whole shareholder return over the previous 5 years, after which calculates the surplus pay they acquired; for example, the report means that 95% of Pichai’s wage (a complete of $266,698,263) was extreme. It discovered that, in Alphabet’s case, the CEO-to-employee pay ratio was 1,085:1; The Walt Disney Co.’s, ranked fifth, was 911:1; and The Kraft Heinz Co.’s, in sixth place, was 1,034:1.


The report additionally discovered that many firms had been “repeat offenders,” the worst being Discovery, Disney, and Comcast. Their CEOs have been paid greater than $1 billion in seven years, regardless that the companies have constantly underperformed financially. In the case of Discovery, every of its 9,000 staff may have earned greater than $40,000 had the firm merely lowered CEO pay to $12 million from $15 million (or used the cash to pay staff further dividends).

However, the report does be aware that shareholder opposition to extreme CEO pay has grown, regardless of the undeniable fact that insider possession generally masks this development, says the report’s writer, Rosanna Landis Weaver. By way of evaluation, As You Sow was in a position to separate the insider managers from institutional fund managers, and located that, attributable to the oppositional votes of the latter, 15 firms from the S&P 500 did not get 50% of the vote to approve CEO pay packages, up from 6 in the final report. For Alphabet, 69% of institutional managers voted towards the CEO bundle, together with 86% for Discovery, and 80% for CVS. Nonetheless, CEO pay on the complete continued to rise.

A lot of the downside stems from the votes from the very largest monetary fund managers, who the report suggests are “blindly following the advice of administration to approve extreme CEO pay packages.” Most responsible are BlackRock and Vanguard, the two greatest funding administration firms. Solely 2% of fund managers at BlackRock, which had $7.8 trillion beneath administration, voted towards S&P 500 compensations, and eight% voted towards the firms on As You Sow’s record. In distinction, the opposition votes from managers at BNP Paribas, with comparatively fewer belongings, had been 87% and 90%, respectively. Amongst pension fund managers, there was equally giant variation in dedication to votes opposing extreme pay packages.

These professionals would seemingly not wish to be seen as “promoters of the oligarchy,” stated Robert Reich, writer, economist, and former U.S. secretary of labor, in a press launch. “The stark actuality, although, is that their careers are devoted to preserving and defending the system and to serving to the oligarchy combination much more wealth and energy.”

This spring’s proxy season, when most annual shareholder conferences occur, will assess CEO compensation in 2020, throughout the financial aftermath of COVID-19, when many companies suffered. There’s already a debate over whether or not COVID-19-based changes to pay packages are acceptable: Ought to CEOs take cuts to replicate their firms’ losses? The report notes that it stays to be seen if chief executives will “be insulated from bearing the full brunt of the draw back,” at the same time as employees have misplaced jobs, and as worker wages “characterize a decrease share of the U.S. economic system than nearly any time since the Forties.”

General, the report recommends that shareholders proceed to talk up and have their “say on pay,” and “strain the firms and funds in your portfolio with this proof—which can profit your long-term monetary efficiency.” Reich writes that the largest monetary managers, like BlackRock and Vanguard, needs to be “extra firmly exercising their shareholder energy to rein in excesses,” including, “Companies with overpaid CEOs also needs to take steps to assist rising the minimal wage.”