Chief executives in America get paid more than CEOs anywhere else in the world, often bringing in annual compensation packages worth millions of dollars.
In the last three decades, CEO pay grew at a faster rate than any other top executive. In fact, CEOs were paid 273 times more than their average employee in 2012, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute. Oftentimes, these highly paid CEOs can count on their hefty paychecks whether their companies are doing well or poorly.
Using data from FindTheCompany, a site that compiles information on more than 30 million companies and more than 200,000 corporate officers in America, we’ve identified the 15 highest-paid CEOs in America.
Interestingly, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer is the only woman who made it on our list, with $US36.6 million in total compensation in 2012 — a figure that, while impressive, pales in comparison to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s $96.2 million.
Total annual compensation: $36 million
In 2008, Kraus was elected as Chairman of the Board and CEO of the investment management company. Prior to this, he served as an executive vice president and head of global strategy at Merrill Lynch & Company Inc. Kraus spent 22 years with Goldman Sachs.
His compensation has increased by 746.4% since 2008.
Total annual compensation: $36.6 million
Mayer became CEO, president, and a member of Yahoo's Board in July 2012 and has quickly implemented numerous changes in restructuring the organisation. Prior to Yahoo, Mayer was vice president of Local, Maps, and Location Services at Google. She held several roles at Google since joining the company in 1999 as employee number 20.
Total annual compensation: $37.1 million
Between 1997 and 1999, Ricci served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nuance Communications, a computer software technology company. On August 21, 2000, he took on the role of CEO of the company.
Before Nuance Communications, Ricci held several positions at Xerox.
His compensation has increased by 79% since 1999.
Total annual compensation: $40.2 million
On February 25, 1999, Disney named Iger president of Walt Disney International and president and chief operating officer of The Walt Disney Company the following year. He's been CEO since 2005.
His compensation has increased by 20.3% since 1999.
Total annual compensation: $40.3 million
Tillerson was elected as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Exxon Mobil in 2006. He joined the company in 1979 as an engineer and held several positions throughout the years nationally and internationally. As CEO, Tillerson led the company to acquire XTO Energy, a leading natural gas and oil producer and Fortune 500 company.
His compensation has increased by 15.3% since 1999.
Total annual compensation: $46.4 million
Bracken has been with the publicly owned hospital operator since 1981 and held various positions with the company before becoming CEO in 2009. At the end of 2013, Johnson will retire and R. Milton Johnson, currently the company's president and chief financial officer, will take the reigns.
Bracken's compensation has increased by 707.9% since 1995.
Total annual compensation: $49.2 million
Harrison, or known as 'Eug' to his friends, began his railroad career in 1964 when he worked as a carman oiler for the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway. In 1989, he joined the Illinois Central Railroad as vice president and later, chief operating officer. When IC was acquired by the Canadian National Railway in 1998, Harrison was named vice president and COO of CN. In 2003, he was appointed at CEO of the company and served until 2009.
He joined the Canadian Pacific Railway in 2012 as CEO.
Total annual compensation: $US49.9 million
Zaslav has served as CEO and president of Discovery Communications since January 2007. He is a member of the board at Univision Communications.
His compensation has decreased by 4.7% since 1997.
Total annual compensation: $51.7 million
Since April 2001, Hammergren has served as president and CEO of the pharmaceutical distributor. He's been Chairman of the Board since 2002. Hammergren joined the company in 1996. Before that, he was a director at Hewlett-Packard Company.
His compensation has increased by 30.4% since 1999.
Total annual compensation: $62.2 million
Moonves has been president and CEO of the broadcast company since January 2006. In the mid-2000s, he was the co-president and co-chief operating officer of the former Viacom. Prior to that, he was at CBS as Chairman, CEO, and president. He's been with CBS since 1995. At one time, Moonves was president of Warner Bros. Television.
His compensation has decreased by 11.1% since 2005.
Total annual compensation: $US64.9 million
Since 1991, Kotick has been a director at the video game holdings company after his purchase of a significant interest in the company. He is also a member of the board of directors of The Coca-Cola Company and the boards of trustees for The Center for Early Education and the Harvard Westlake School.
His compensation has increased by 679.7% since 2008.
Total annual compensation: $69 million
In 1976, the financial analyst founded Gabelli Investors, later called Gamco Investors, to manage money for clients. Gabelli was named as Money Manager of the Year in 2010 by Institutional Investor.
His compensation has increased by 11.8% since 1998.
Total annual compensation: $78.2 million
Musk has been Tesla's CEO since October 2008 and Chairman of the Board of Directors since April 2004. He co-founded the company with Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning, JB Straubel, and Ian Wright. Musk also serves as CEO and CTO of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), which develops and launches advanced rockets for satellite. Musk co-founded PayPal, which was later acquired by eBay in October 2002.
He is ranked #61 as the richest American and has a net worth of $US6.7 billion, according to Forbes.
Total annual compensation: $96.2 million
Ellison has been CEO and a director at the computer technology firm since he founded it in June 1977. Prior to Oracle, Ellison worked at Ampex Corporation, where he was inspired to start his own company when working on a project involving a database for the CIA he named Oracle.
He is listed as the third richest American by Forbes in 2013.
Ellison's compensation has increased by 24% since 1977.
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