Top 10 Highest Paid CEOs in 2014: Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, executive compensation has been a widely debated topic. Many continue to argue that CEOs have excessively high salaries, while employees only receive a small fraction of those sums despite putting in the same amount of hours everyday. Hence, with executive compensation having risen for the fourth year in a row and pay packages experiencing an increase in value of over 50% in that period, the topic is still fresh.
Our intention here is not to spark a debate regarding the moral implications of the wide salary gap between CEOs and employees. Nevertheless, it is quite astonishing to learn how much the top 10 highest paid CEOs actually earn per year. Especially considering the median pay for executives has breached the $10 million mark. Also, after taking a look at the 10 youngest hedge fund billionaires in a previous post, we decided CEO were also worth looking at.
Before getting into further detail, it is noteworthy that the following information was provided by The Associated Press and Equilar, an executive pay research firm. The study includes not only salaries, but also stock components, which have experienced a surge in recent years due to positive evolution of the stock market. Now let’s take a closer look at the 10 highest paid CEOs this year.
10. Highest Paid CEO: Brian Roberts – $31.4 million
The CEO of Comcast Corp (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has increased his earnings by 8 percent this year, allowing him to position himself amongst the 10 highest paid in 2014. Brian Roberts is well rewarded for his efforts, which include conducting everyday business for NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast.
9. Highest Paid CEO: Jeffrey Bewkes – $32.5 million
Following a 27 percent increase in pay, the CEO of Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) has achieved an annual income of $32.5 million. This should come as little surprise, since shares of Time Warner are up by around 30 percent this year.
8. David Zaslav – $33.3 million
Despite a 33 percent drop in his executive compensation, the CEO of Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) still boasts a healthy source of income. It looks like shareholders were not too happy with Mr. Zaslav’s performance last year…
7. Robert Iger – $34.3 million
After receiving a 46 percent bump in pay, the CEO of Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has managed to land the 7th place on our list. Despite what might seem intentional, I assure you that this list was not tweaked: the CEOs of the entertainment companies mentioned so far are ranked closely by coincidence.
6. Leonard Schleifer – $36.3 million
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN) has rewarded CEO Leonard Schleifer by increasing his executive compensation by 21 percent. This is surely shareholders’ way of repaying Mr Schleifer for the 43% increase in stock value over the past year.
5. Philippe Dauman – $37.1 million
Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB)’s CEO has made the top 5 following his 11 percent increase in salary and stock options this year. Since share value didn’t move much this past year, Philippe Dauman should make sure not to let shareholders down this year. After all, it wouldn’t look good to perform poorly after receiving additional payment.
4. Stephen Kaufer – $39 million
The first real surprise appearance on our list was achieved by the CEO of TripAdvisor Inc (NASDAQ:TRIP). Stephen Kaufer’s executive compensation rose by a whopping 510 percent, landing him the fourth highest salary amongst CEOs. Welcome to the big leagues Mr. Kaufer!
3. Richard Adkerson – $55.3 million
As you can see, being the third-best paid CEO has its perks: a $15 million difference to the fourth-placed Stephen Kaufer. Richard Adkerson of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc (NYSE:FCX) was given a 294 percent raise this year, encouraging him to stay on top of his game.
2. Leslie Moonves – $65.9 million
Wow! Yet another huge increase in executive compensation leading up to second place, where Leslie Moonves of CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS) is positioned. This CEO didn’t even have to receive a large salary bump (only 9 percent this year) in order to get there. Working for TV really does seem to pay off!
1. Anthony Petrello – $68.2 million
Ever heard of Nabors Industries (NYSE:NBR)? Probably not. Nevertheless, its CEO Anthony Petrello is the highest paid CEO, following a 246 percent bump to his executive compensation. The oil, natural gas, and geothermal drilling contracting company is doing very well this year, with shares up by 67 percent over the past twelve months… and its CEO has not gone unnoticed.