Many of the world’s most valuable companies are listed on the S&P 500, the benchmark index for the U.S. stock market.
For this reason, it is no surprise to see that CEOs of these key companies have multi-million dollar compensation packages. But what do these pay packages comprise? And do these CEOs always receive the compensation they are awarded? Or does it increase and decrease with stock market fluctuations?
In the following infographic, Visual Capitalist's Freny Fernandes and Sam Parker use data published by The Wall Street Journal to show the highest paid CEOs of S&P 500 companies in 2022, and delve into what their compensation includes.
The 20 Highest Paid CEOs
The compensation packages of CEOs of S&P 500 companies comprise not just salaries, but bonuses, stock awards, and other incentives.
Here are the CEOs of S&P 500 companies that were awarded the highest pay packages last year, and the sectors they belong to.
|Sundar Pichai||Alphabet||Communication Services||$226M|
|Michael Rapino||Live Nation Entertainment||Communication Services||$139M|
|Tim Cook||Apple||Info Tech||$99M|
|Peter Zaffino||American International Group||Financials||$75M|
|Hock Tan||Broadcom||Info Tech||$61M|
|Vicente Reynal||Ingersoll Rand||Industrials||$55M|
|Reed Hastings||Netflix||Communication Services||$51M|
|Theodore Sarandos||Netflix||Communication Services||$50M|
|Hamid Moghadam||Prologis||Real Estate||$48M|
|Stephen Squeri||American Express||Financials||$48M|
|James Gorman||Morgan Stanley||Financials||$39M|
|David Zaslav||Warner Bros. Discovery||Communication Services||$39M|
|William McDermott||ServiceNow||Info Tech||$39M|
|Darren W. Woods||Exxon Mobil||Energy||$36M|
|David Simon||Simon Property Group||Real Estate||$36M|
|James Dimon||JPMorgan Chase||Financials||$35M|
|Julie Sweet||Accenture||Info Tech||$34M|
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, topped the list with an awarded pay package valued at around $226 million, which was over 800 times Google’s median employee compensation. His pay package included his annual salary of $2 million, a sum of $6 million for his personal security and stock awards valued at $218 million.
Meanwhile, Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino’s awarded pay package shot up to $139 million in 2022 from almost $14 million the previous year. This included stock awards initially valued at $116 million. Tech companies Apple and Broadcom were not far behind. While Apple CEO Tim Cook’s compensation package was valued at $99 million in 2022, Broadcom’s president and CEO Hock Tan was awarded $61 million.
Other CEOs that made it to the list include global insurance giant AIG’s CEO, Peter Zaffino, and Netflix’s co-CEOs Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings. While Hastings received a $10 million hike last year, he stepped down from this role in January 2023.
Rising Median CEO Income Hits a Wall
Over the last decade, the median pay awarded to CEOs across S&P 500 companies has doubled.
|Year||Median Total Compensation for S&P 500 CEOs||Change (%)|
In 2021, this number hit a high of $14.7 million.
However, in 2022, the median CEO compensation package hit a wall for the first time in a decade as it slightly fell to $14.5 million.
Compensation Actually Paid
A compensation package dependent on market valuation means that these CEOs may receive more or less than the pay they are slated to receive.
This is because most stock awards aren’t granted when announced, but instead vest over time, becoming subject to changes in share prices.
In 2022, the SEC introduced new disclosure rules for companies to report this realized value for executive pay packages, appropriately called “compensation actually paid.”
|CEO||Company||Total Pay||Compensation Paid|
|Michael Rapino||Live Nation Entertainment||$139M||$36M|
|Peter Zaffino||American International Group||$75M||$91M|
|Vicente Reynal||Ingersoll Rand||$55M||$51M|
|Theodore (Ted) Sarandos||Netflix||$50M||$50M|
|Stephen Squeri||American Express||$48M||$43M|
|James Gorman||Morgan Stanley||$39M||$31M|
|David Zaslav||Warner Bros. Discovery||$39M||-$41M|
|Darren Woods||Exxon Mobil||$36M||$90M|
|David Simon||Simon Property Group||$36M||$30M|
|James Dimon||JPMorgan Chase||$35M||$37M|
The Wall Street Journal report revealed that many of the top-paid S&P 500 CEOs in 2022 received much smaller pay packages due to market fluctuations.
For example, Sundar Pichai ended up receiving about $116 million as the value of Alphabet’s stock dropped at the time that his grants vested. Similarly, Michael Rapino was paid almost $36 million, though his stock awards will continue vesting for another five years.