With the mainstream media inundated with tales of low paid workers demanding higher minimum wages (thus theoretically expecting to be paid more than a market rate for their services), we thought a look at the other end of the scale was worthwhile (where, some might argue, the following 10 CEOs are also paid above market rates for their 'ability')...
10. Gerald Rubin
Company: Helen of Troy
Compensation: $41.6 million
Helen of Troy, which distributes name brands like Brut and Pert Plus, posted record sales in its fiscal year ending in February 2013, helping its CEO Gerald Rubin take home nearly $29 million in performance-based stock options. Of the country’s most lavishly paid CEOs, according to data compiled by FindTheCompany.com, none are are women.
9. Richard Bracken
Company: HCA Holdings
Compensation: $46.4 million
It pays handsomely to run the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain. Bracken is retiring at the end of the year after spending more than thirty years with HCA, but surely the $21.4 million in stock options that recently vested will help tide him over in retirement.
8. E. Hunter Harrison
Company: Canadian Pacific Railway
Compensation: $49.2 million
Hunter Harrison’s pay is inflated in part because of an agreement by Canadian Pacific to fund a pension he forfeited when he left his previous employer to join the company in 2012, but he still receives eight figures in stock options purely for his labor.
7. David Zaslav
Company: Discovery Communications Class
Compensation: $49.9 million
Research firm Morningstar calls Discovery Channel “the most widely distributed brand in the world.” It reaches over 200 countries. Add other niche but profitable cable channels like Animal Planet and TLC, plus ownership of much of the content those networks distribute, and you have the makings of a pay-TV powerhouse. Discovery’s stock is up roughly 500% over the past five years, helping to boost CEO David Zaslav’s stock rewards and total compensation.
6. John Hammergren
Compensation: $51.7 million
John Hammergren, CEO of the pharmaceutical and medical device distributor McKensson, has not only one of the highest pay packages in corporate America, but one of the most generous golden parachutes. He could make up to $303.4 million if he is to leave the company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
5. Leslie Moonves
Compensation: $62.2 million
The fact that Moonves heads up America’s most watched-television network is one reason for his lavish pay. Morningstar analyst Michael Corty argues Moonves “deserves a lot of credit for the strong performance of CBS broadcast network over the past decades.” Hit shows like “Under the Dome” keep advertisers flocking to the network, bolstering Moonves reputation in a time of generally sagging network TV ratings.
4. Robert Kotick
Company: Activision Blizzard
Compensation: $64.9 million
Activision Blizzard – maker of wildly successful video game franchises Call of Duty and World of Warcraft – has rewarded its CEO Robert Kotick handsomely for the company’s swiftly appreciating stock price. The majority of Kotick’s compensation is paid in stock, which is up more than 60% in 2013.
3. Mario Gabelli
Company: Gamco Investors
Compensation: $69 million
Through the ownership of 99% of Gamco Investors Class B voting shares, founder and CEO Mario Gabelli has near total control of his company. This arrangement surely bolsters his ability to pay himself well: He nets 10% of the firms pre-tax profits, plus further pay for his role as a portfolio manager. His $69 million in take home pay in 2012 represented 20% of Gamco’s total revenue, according to Morningstar.
2. Larry Ellison
Compensation: $77 million
Larry Ellison, the founder and CEO of software maker Oracle, has long made the lists of top-paid executives. But after several quarters of lagging sales growth, shareholders are growing weary of Ellison’s lavish pay package. The Silicon Valley boss’s pay was reduced from $96.2 million in 2012 to $77 million in 2013. A majority of shareholders still censured the board’s decision to be so generous in a non-binding vote this November.
1. Elon Musk
Company: Tesla Motors
Compensation: $78.2 million
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk made his first millions through developing the payment platform PayPal and his success and fame have only grown. The stock of Musk’s latest venture, Tesla Motors, spent much of 2013 soaring in value, helping to explain the visionary CEO’s robust pay package.