A Disney heiress told Congress that Bob Iger's huge salary is a 'moral issue.' Here's how CEO earnings at companies like Netflix and Discovery compare to worker pay.

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesWho’s overpaid? Pictured is Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, who earned more than $US65 million in 2018.
  • Abigail Disney, who is Walt Disney’s great-niece, criticised the Disney company’s pay practices, specifically the ratio of CEO Bob Iger’s pay to the median worker’s pay.
  • As You Sow, a nonprofit focused on shareholder advocacy, calculated the ratio of CEO pay to median employee pay in 2017.
  • According to As You Sow, Iger earned more than $US36 million in 2017, which was 787 times more than the median salary of a Disney employee.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Abigail Disney, a great-niece of The Walt Disney Co. founder Walt Disney, called Disney CEO Bob Iger’s pay a “moral issue” while testifying before the US House Committee on Financial Services.

She said that when she raised the issue privately with Iger, she was “quickly and condescendingly brushed aside.” In her testimony, she proposed that the Disney company “raise the salary of its lowest paid workers to a living wage.”

CBS cited a 2018 study by researchers at Occidental College and the Economic Roundtable, which found 73% of workers at Disneyland resort said they did not earn enough to cover basic expenses every month.

In April 2019, Abigail Disney made waves when she took to Twitter to criticise the company’s pay practices, and then elaborated on those thoughts in a Washington Post op-ed.

The article lambasted the “naked indecency” of Disney CEO Robert Iger’s pay.

Abigail Disney cited data from Equilar showing that Iger earned more than $US65 million in 2018, which is 1,424 times more than the median salary of a Disney employee. (The New York Times clarified that the $US65 million number encompasses $US39.3 million in annual compensation, plus restricted stock awards from the acquisition of 21st Century Fox Assets.)

“I’m not arguing that Iger and others do not deserve bonuses,” Abigail Disney wrote in The Washington Post. “They do. They have led the company brilliantly. I am saying that the people who contribute to its success also deserve a share of the profits they have helped make happen.”

Disney responded to Abigail Disney’s comments in a statement, covered by The New York Times, which said the company pays a starting minimum wage of $US15, double the federal minimum wage. The statement also said 90% of Iger’s compensation was based on the company’s financial performance.

Iger is hardly the only CEO who earns significantly more than their employees. The typical CEO made a whopping 312 times their median employees’ salary in 2017, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

And a 2019 Wall Street Journal analysis found the median salary for 132 CEOs in the S&P 500 was $US12.4 million in 2018, up from $US11.7 million in 2017. According to the Journal, Iger earned roughly $US66 million in 2018, which made him the highest-paid CEO on their list of companies disclosing salaries.

Some chief executives also earn salaries that are seemingly disproportionate to their company’s shareholder returns. A 2019 report from As You Sow, a nonprofit focused on shareholder advocacy, ranks the most “overpaid” leaders on the S&P 500.

To figure out who’s overpaid, As You Sow calculated the ratio of CEO pay in 2017 to total shareholder return at each company, as well as the companies where the most shares were voted against the CEO pay package (the first ratio was weighted double).

Because there was a change in CEO at a few companies (Oracle Corp., The Walt Disney Co., TransDigm Group, Inc., and Discovery, Inc.), the salary of the higher-paid CEO was counted.

Below, we’ve listed the 25 most overpaid CEOs according to As You Sow, as well as each of their salaries, the median employee salary at their company, and the pay ratio.

Read more: A new study found CEOs at America’s biggest companies raked in $US19 million on average last year, while workers’ pay barely budged

25. Randall Stephenson, AT&T, Inc.

CEO pay: $US28,720,720

Median employee pay: $US78,437

Pay ratio: 366:1

24. Reed Hastings, Netflix, Inc.

CEO pay: $US24,377,499

Median employee pay: $US183,304

Pay ratio: 133:1

23. Paal Kibsgaard, Schlumberger NV

CEO pay: $US20,759,340

Median employee pay: $US88,604

Pay ratio: 234:1

22. Brenton Saunders, Allergan Plc

CEO pay: $US32,827,626

Median employee pay: $US94,064

Pay ratio: 349:1

Brian Roberts Comcast 8006Business InsiderBrian Roberts.

21. Brian Roberts, Comcast Corp.

CEO pay: $US32,520,224

Median employee pay: $US71,006

Pay ratio: 458:1

20. Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings, Inc.

CEO pay: $US38,029,517

Median employee pay: $US97,997

Pay ratio: 388:1

19. Richard B. Handler, Jefferies Financial Group, Inc.

CEO pay: $US21,787,285

Median employee pay: $US44,584

Pay ratio: 489:1

18. Leonard S. Schleifer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

CEO pay: $US26,508,058

Median employee pay: $US123,418

Pay ratio: 215:1

17. Mark D. Okerstrom, Expedia Group, Inc.

CEO pay: $US30,720,457

Median employee pay: $US71,696

Pay ratio: 428:1

Debra CafaroCourtesy of VentasDebra Cafaro.

16. Jeffrey A. Miller, Halliburton Co.

CEO pay: $US23,078,364

Median employee pay: $US79,636

Pay ratio: 290:1

15. Debra A. Cafaro, Ventas, Inc.

CEO pay: $US25,254,607

Median employee pay: $US88,630

Pay ratio: 285:1

14. James Cracchiolo, Ameriprise Financial, Inc.

CEO pay: $US23,900,309

Median employee pay: $US107,082

Pay ratio: 223:1

13. Gary A. Norcross, Fidelity National Information Services, Inc.

CEO pay: $US29,141,610

Median employee pay: $US44,556

Pay ratio: 654:1

12. Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor, Inc.

CEO pay: $US47,933,462

Median employee pay: $US99,643

Pay ratio: 481:1

11. David M. Zaslav, Discovery, Inc.

CEO pay: $US42,247,984

Median employee pay: $US80,858

Pay ratio: 522:1

10. E. Hunter Harrison, CSX Corp.

CEO pay: $US151,147,286

Median employee pay: $US98,697

Pay ratio: 1531:1

9. Margaret H. Georgiadis, Mattel, Inc.

CEO pay: $US31,275,289

Median employee pay: $US6,271

Pay ratio: 4,987:1

8. Brian Duperreault, American International Group, Inc.

CEO pay: $US43,086,861

Median employee pay: $US64,186

Pay ratio: 671:1

7. W. Nicholas Howley, TransDigm Group, Inc.

CEO pay: $US61,023,102

Median employee pay: $US46,742

Pay ratio: 1,306:1

Hock Tan Broadcom CEOPhoto by Martin H. Simon – Pool/Getty ImagesHock Tan.

6. Robert Iger, The Walt Disney Co.

CEO pay: $US36,283,680

Median employee pay: $US46,127

Pay ratio: 787:1

5. Stephen Wynn, Wynn Resorts Ltd.

CEO pay: $US34,522,695

Median employee pay: $US44,437

Pay ratio: 777:1

4. Dirk Van de Put, Mondelez International, Inc.

CEO pay: $US42,442,924

Median employee pay: $US42,893

Pay ratio: 990:1

3. Hock Tan, Broadcom, Inc.

CEO pay: $US103,211,163

Median employee pay: NA

Pay ratio: NA

2. Mark V. Hurd/Safra Catz, Oracle Corp.

CEO pay: $US81,562,244

Median employee pay: $US89,887

Pay ratio: 907:1

1. Ronald F. Clarke, Fleetcor Technologies Inc

CEO pay: $US52,643,810

Median employee pay: $US34,700

Pay ratio: 1,517:1

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