A CEO Averages $11 Million Annually, How Do You Compare?

If you put together the annual pay packages of the 500 Chief Executive Officers at S&P companies, you might say they are earning their fair share.  After all, the average salary is only about $1,000,000 a year, certainly not exorbitant for the amount they work.

But then you have bonuses.

Then stocks.

And options.

Plus, don’t forget a myriad of other compensation types not included above.

In the end, according to research provided by the AFL-CIO, the total compensation for the CEO’s averaged out to just over $11,000,000 per year for each one of them, with a majority of it being in compensation taxed at a lower rate than that of the average middle class American.

According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. corporations held a record $1.93 trillion in cash on their balance sheets in 2010. But they are not investing to expand their companies, grow the real economy or create good middle-class jobs. Corporate CEOs are literally hoarding their company’s cash — except when it comes to their own paychecks.

In 2010, Standard & Poor’s 500 Index company CEOs received, on average, $11.4 million in total compensation. Based on 299 companies’ most recent pay data for 2010, their combined total CEO pay of $3.4 billion could support 102,325 median workers’ jobs

Mother Jones takes a look at a few of these top CEOs, and the most frustrating part is how little the pay packages they received reflect company performance.  Most egregious?  Wells Fargo’s John Stumpf, who literally profitted from other people’s failures.

In 2009, when Wells Fargo still owed the federal government $25 billion in bailout funds, CEO John Stumpf got a $5 million raise. The resulting hurricane of bad publicity may be why Wells Fargo cut Stumpf’s base pay in 2010. But it still gave him a $3.3 million cash bonus, leaving his total earnings almost unchanged. He remains one of the country’s highest-paid bank CEOs. A few secrets to his success: Profiting from foreclosing on homeowners and hoarding liquid assets to shore up the bank’s bottom line.

When Republicans state that taxes need to stay down to protect the people who “create jobs” is this really who they are talking about?


Photo: http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html via Wikimedia Commons


Dean P.
Dean P6 years ago

Fat cats are getting fatter and its not because they are working any harder for it. The middle of the road and the working poor suffer so them fat cats can line their pockets with more money than they will ever need.

Sharon H.
Sharon H6 years ago

That's the right video. It's an eye opener, isn't it? The fact that it was made in 1947 and is exactly how this country is going today is what I found to be interesting. That's why I think everyone, no matter what political party you follow would benefit greatly by watching it.

lyn L.
l L6 years ago

sharon h- apr 21, 2011. I read your post about that yu tube video. What I found was something about don't be a sucker 1947? if I got the right site, I want to thank you for direction, to see it. If I got it wrong thanks anyway cause it helped my understanding. I saw it last night 4/21-22/2011. It says what has happened in the past( 1947 film) is happening now and don't be a sucker. It is better if you viewed it yourself, everyone. My memory is getting there in there. caphe'. It's up to the rest of us to wake up before it is too late. Have a conversation with somebody if you don't understand. Some of us are getting up in years and depend on the generations before us to carry the torch of life just like we did for all of us when it was our turn. We look for you under us; to carry the torch of the living, for all of us now. That is all of us. Not this group minus that one. WE put money over people. It's time to work the magic for all of us so we all have what we need to live in this life with dignity and not let all these other isms take it from us.

lyn L.
l L6 years ago

ShirleyM- apr.21.2011 I read your post and about the mortgages and mortgagee's you wrote about, I've thought the same things. When the government bailed out the banks, because of the failed mortgages, you would think right then and there, our government had ownership of thoses mortgages and could have struck a deal with the owners to keep or get their homes back. But part of the country was calling them names and didn't want to bailout homeowners. I thought that at that juncture, the domino affect would have been averted. But we trusted the banks to lend but instead, I noticed, they gave themselves bonuses in the amounts of the bailouts in some instances. Of course the repubs were no help at any juncture. However this game that was played had been going on for at least 2plus decades. The one where your mortgages were being sold to who and who and who. So who owned the mortgages was a brainteaser of a pickle. So we learned about speculators and the games of wallstreet we never knew before and now we know. We know about the game, that is played we our lives. I'm not agnostic and I think like you do in these areas. Just to let you know. I'm just figuring out these things now. But stuff was happening so quickly, with the many fires to put out, Why didn't we think of this then? I ask myself.

robert w.
robert W6 years ago

So many people suffer and even die BECAUSE of what these kind of greedy leeches do! and our GOV't watches & HELPS them do it!

Russ L.
Russell L6 years ago

Oh yeah these are the ones that care about our country? But we are the ones buying their crap no? If we all looked at what we support and buy then would these rich dudes start losing money? We vote the jerks that support these guys. We have our money in WF. Maybe start looking at what you buy? Start to conserve energy and buy less crap? Oh yeah can't do that because then I have take responsibility for what I do. Change my lifestyle think and learn. Oh yeah I am an American to fat and lazy to do that.

David C.
David Connally6 years ago

You might think that CEO pay should be related to results but look at the numbers:

Between 1990 and 2005, CEO salaries were up 300%. By comparison the S&P 500 was up 141%, corporate profits 100%, production worker pay 4.3%, federal minimum wage down 9%. You might think that pay should be related to results.

Perhaps holding worker compensation down while improving profits by 100% counts. I think Germany has a law that restricts CEO salary. Germany, the best performing economy, least unemployment country in the developed world.

Ed Woolard, a former DuPont CEO and chair of the New York Stock Exchange's executive compensation committee had some choice comments on CEO salaries. He knows wherof he speaks. To quote:

“The compensation committee [of the board of directors] talks to an outside consultant who has surveys you could drive a truck through and pay anything you want to pay, to be perfectly honest. The outside consultant talks to the human resources vice president, who talks to the CEO. The CEO says what he'd like to receive. It gets to the human resources person who tells the outside consultant. And it pretty well works out that the CEO gets what he's implied he thinks he deserves, so he will be respected by his peers. (Morgenson, 2005.)”

Those who support the high salaries intrigue me. I somehow think they would have been the happy peasants in 17th century France.

Lin Moy
Lin M6 years ago

Well they could sure help our economy huh?? Cheapos..

Judith Howard
Judith Howard6 years ago

In my last post I forgot to mention a film worth watching...you can see it for free if you google the name of the film. "Inside Job". It's about the 2008 financial meltdown. The film made it into the mainstream.

Judith Howard
Judith Howard6 years ago

These companies are bailed out with tax payer's money, the top dogs walk away with nice compensation packages in the millions while the average person gets no compensation from government when they need it. Outrageous!

And the debt ceiling is being raised. You can bet the CEO's and the like won't be touched. After all they have their lobbyists giving lots of money to congress. And congress returns the favor courtesy of your tax dollars.

When are more American's going to say ENOUGH! Check out Restore the Republic website for real news.