REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CEO compensation continued its post-COVID upward climb in 2022, according to a new Equilar study. The 2023 edition of the Equilar 100, an annual study of America’s largest companies by revenue to file a proxy by March 31, reveals that despite economic uncertainty, median CEO pay reached $22.3 million in 2022—a 7.7% increase among the same companies from 2021. The highest-paid executive on this year’s list is Peloton Interactive CEO Barry McCarthy, who was awarded over $168 million in 2022.
As is the case each year, the leading driving behind the uptick in CEO pay is directly related to the rise of stock award values. Median stock awards for Equilar 100 CEOs increased by 19.7% to $13.8 million in 2022—the largest increase across all pay components. While 2022 was a turbulent economic year, most awards were granted at the beginning of the year when there was less uncertainty in the market. Nevertheless, the median total return for Equilar 100 companies was down 11.1%, which negatively impacted companies’ willingness to pay a premium bonus—cash bonuses decreased by 5.9% in 2022 to $4.2 million.
The 2023 proxy season marks the first year for required SEC Pay Versus Performance (PvP) disclosures. The PvP rules require public companies to disclose both tabular and narrative information reflecting the relationship between compensation actually paid (CAP) to a company’s named executive officers (NEOs) and the company’s financial performance. According to the study, median CAP figures for Equilar 100 CEOs were significantly less than total disclosed compensation at $19.3 million in 2022—a -13.6% difference. The CEO with the highest CAP value was Peter Zaffino of American International Group at $90.8 million in 2022.
This year’s study saw eight women among the highest-paid CEOs—a drop from nine on last year’s list—earning a median total compensation of $21.2 million. Similar to the previous year, the 2023 edition of the Equilar 100 did not feature a woman among the top 10 highest-paid CEOs. Julie Sweet of Accenture, whose compensation totaled $33.7 million in 2022 and ranked 15th overall, was the highest-paid woman CEO in the study.
About the Report
The Equilar 100 includes the largest U.S.-listed companies with revenues of at least $1 billion to file annual proxy statements by March 31 to provide an early look at CEO pay trends for 2022. While many of the companies in the Equilar 100 are consistent from year to year, due to changes in revenue and floating filing dates the list is not the same every year.
Equilar is the leading provider of corporate leadership data solutions. Companies of all sizes rely on Equilar for their most important business decisions, including 70% of the Fortune 500 and institutional investors representing over $20 trillion in assets. Equilar offers data-driven solutions for business development, recruiting, executive compensation and shareholder engagement that bring together business leaders to drive exceptional results. Founded in 2000, Equilar is cited regularly by Associated Press, Bloomberg, CNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other leading media outlets. Learn more at www.equilar.com.