Is the Boss Really Worth What They’re Paid? The Good and the Bad of CEO Salaries

Consumers and investors alike are starting to question just how responsible companies are when it comes to the environment, social or governance (ESG) issues. In line with this, sustainably-minded investors are questioning the sometimes over-inflated compensation packages that many CEOs are receiving.

Executive Compensation

When thinking about ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues, internal corporate behavior can sometimes take center stage. One part of corporate governance behavior is executive compensation. It is clear that CEO pay has been increasing at an alarming rate when compared to the average worker.  Is it warranted though?  In some cases, perhaps, but as you can see in this post, there are numerous examples of CEOs making millions when their shareholders are losing big.

According to a recent study put out by the Economic Policy Institute, chief executives at America’s 350 biggest companies were paid 231 times as much as the average private-sector worker in 2011. Unbelievably in 1978, CEOs took home only 26.5 times more than the average worker.

Granted, compensation for a job well done can be warranted, but many shareholders have lost value in their stock position while their CEOs pull in millions.  Some companies that have paid their CEOs lavishly while their stock price has plummeted include:

Company Last Close Daily Change 5-Year Return CEO Compensation
Abercrombie & Fitch Co (ANF) $43.71 -$0.12 -0.3% -41.5% $48,069,473
Apollo Group Inc (APOL) $18.68 +$0.05 +0.3% -73.7% $25,135,275
General Electric Co (GE) $20.68 +$0.06 +0.3% -44.4% $21,581,228
iStar Financial Inc (SFI) $7.74 +$0.15 +2.0% -70.9% $25,910,306
J C Penney Company Inc (JCP) $17.25 +$0.01 +0.1% -57.0% $53,281,505
Leucadia National Corp (LUK) $21.02 +$0.05 +0.2% -51.4% $28,145,138
Marathon Oil Corp (MRO) $31.50 $0.00 0.0% -44.0% $31,529,419
Motorola Solutions Inc (MSI) $53.87 +$0.01 0.0% -49.8% $29,329,052
PhotoMedex Inc (PHMD) $12.98 +$0.07 +0.5% -61.4% $28,284,287
Prudential Financial Inc (PRU) $51.13 +$0.35 +0.7% -44.5% $23,693,441
SandRidge Energy Inc (SD) $5.62 -$0.10 -1.7% -81.7% $25,261,50

Press “play” on Kapitall’s Compar-O-Matic to see how CEO compensation for the stocks listed above has changed in the past two years.

Is the Boss Really Worth What They’re Paid? The Good and the Bad of CEO Salaries

On the other end of the spectrum the following companies have some of the lowest compensated CEOs and have brought healthy 5-year returns to their investors:

Company Last Close Daily Change 5-Year Return CEO Compensation
Airgas Inc (ARG) $89.50 -$0.10 -0.1% +91.6% $2,092,489
Amazon.Com Inc (AMZN) $238.03 +$4.25 +1.8% +198.4% $1,681,840
AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC) $40.85 +$0.05 +0.1% +87.7% $4,609,882
Autozone Inc (AZO) $381.87 +$0.74 +0.2% +262.3% $4,741,481
D.R. Horton, Inc. (DHI) $19.45 +$0.01 +0.1% +77.5% $4,003,807
Family Dollar Stores Inc (FDO) $68.83 -$0.06 -0.1% +210.0% $4,747,395
Fastenal Co (FAST) $40.77 -$0.14 -0.3% +113.4% $3,258,911
Fossil Inc (FOSL) $83.55 +$0.64 +0.8% +104.7% $0.00
Intuitive Surgical Inc (ISRG) $534.46 -$2.02 -0.4% +91.0% $4,548,559
O’Reilly Automotive Inc (ORLY) $91.55 +$0.18 +0.2% +195.3% $3,696,252
Public Storage (PSA) $144.29 -$0.24 -0.2% +93.1% $2,759,800
PulteGroup Inc (PHM) $16.83 +$0.08 +0.5% +81.9% $4,865,747

Press “play” on Kapitall’s Compar-O-Matic to see how CEO compensation for the stocks listed above has changed in the past two years.’

Is the Boss Really Worth What They’re Paid? The Good and the Bad of CEO Salaries

‘Tis the Season: CEOs in Retail

In light of this shopping season, below we can see which clothing retailers are returning shareholder value along with keeping CEO compensation to a minimum (Gap, Foot Locker) and also the companies who are poor performers when it comes to shareholder return and excessive CEO pay (JC Penney and Abercrombie and Fitch).

Using Kapitall Compar-O-Matic tool, here is a comparison of the CEO compensation against one-year returns on stock price in the retail sector:

Is the Boss Really Worth What They’re Paid? The Good and the Bad of CEO Salaries

This article was originally written by Dale Wannen, and posted on Kapitall.

Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months. Our beta is only 1.2 (don't click this link if beating the market isn't important to you).


On the Move: The 10 Fastest Growing Businesses in 2015

Fast Money: The 10 Highest Paying Fast Food Restaurants

Mixing It Up: The 14 Best Music Mashups of 2014

Rito Pls Buff: The 10 Least Played Champions in LoL Season 4

10 Covers of Popular Songs that are Better than the Originals

Must See TV: The 9 Most Anticipated Shows of 2015

The 15 Biggest Box Office Bombs of All Time

10 Things The World Can’t Stand About Americans

Picture Perfect: The 6 Smartphones with the Best Cameras

The 10 Best Countries To Work In the World

A Profitable Day At The Track: 5 Tips For Betting On Horses

Tearing You Apart: 6 Bad Habits That Ruin Relationships

Learning on the Job: The 6 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make

Shopaholics Rejoice: The 12 Biggest Malls in the World

Fright Night: 10 Horror Movies Based on True Stories

Mach Mania: The 10 Fastest Jets in the World

Military Heavyweights: The 10 Countries with the Most Tanks

All In: The 7 Richest Poker Players in the World

Abracadabra: The 10 Best Magicians in the World

The 10 Richest Asian Countries in the World in 2014

Eyes in the Sky: 10 Things You Need to Know About Drones

Rising Stars: The 6 Best Silicon Valley Startups

Military Muscle: The 5 Most Advanced Armies in South America

All that Glitters: The 7 Most Luxurious Jewelry Brands in the World

5 Things You Didn’t Know About ISIS but Should

Empowering Your Money: The 5 Best Energy Stocks to Invest In

The 11 Best Android Apps You Can’t Get on iOS

The 10 Most Important International Conflicts in 2014

Mood Enhancers: The 20 Most Uplifting Songs of all Time

Lover Beware: The 8 Countries that Cheat the Most

Breath of Fresh Air: The 25 Countries with the Best Air Quality on the Planet

Singles Beware: The 8 Worst Mistakes Made on First Dates

Healthy and Happy: The 10 Countries with Lowest Healthcare Costs

The 6 Best Company Team Building Activities to Build Workplace Camaraderie

Ships Ahoy: The 10 Busiest Shipping Ports in the World

10 Productivity Tips to Save You Time and Help You Do More With Less

Grab a Bite: The Most Popular Fast Food Restaurants in America

Friday Night Thirst: The 10 Most Popular Cocktails in the World

The 6 Greatest Unsolved Mysteries We May Never Figure Out

7 Useless Products You Never Should’ve Bought

The 5 Reasons Why You’re Single and Miserable

The 7 Most Addictive Foods in the World We Can’t Stop Eating (Even Though We Should)

5 Amazing Places You Can Swim with Dolphins

The Top 7 Most Livable Countries In The World

The 10 Most Expensive Baseball Cards Ever Pulled From A Pack

The 5 Easiest Second Languages to Learn for English Speakers

Silver Spoon: The 6 Richest Families in the World

The 20 Countries with the Largest Prison Populations in the World

The Top 10 Richest Actors in the World

The 10 Best Airline Stocks to Invest In Before They Fly Too High


Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!