The median pay of the 200 highest earning US chief executives (CEOs) rose to $16.9m in fiscal year 2016 according to the  annual study of US CEO pay by advisory firm Equilar and those included on this list saw a median 9% pay increase over what they earned the previous year.

The Equilar 200 study, which produces a rankings list of the largest pay packages among public company CEOs, found that overall chief executive pay packages are higher than ever before. Last year’s Equilar 200 list, had recorded a median pay package of $16.6 million, 2% lower than this year’s median.

Equilar highest paid US chief executives
Leslie Moonves of CBS received the highest cash pay-out among the CEOs in 2016

Equilar said that the 200th CEO on this year’s list was awarded more than $13 million for the first time in the history of the Equilar 200 study. In the past, the low-end cut off has typically been approximately $12 million, Equilar said. On the 2015 list, for example, the 200th CEO was awarded $12.2 million, and 18 CEOs who made the list last year received pay packages less than $13 million.

The three top highest earning US chief executives in respect of total remuneration were Thomas Rutledge, CEO of Charter Communications who earned $98m, Leslie Moonves CEO of CBS who earned $68.5m and David O’Connor, CEO of $54m. Moonves also received the largest cash award last year with a $32 million cash bonus. Jeff Immelt of GE earned the largest salary in the study at $3.8 million.

Although there are just sixteen female chief executives on the Equilar 200 list the study found that their average pay package of $20.9m was higher than the average male pay package of $19.5m. There was one more female overall than appeared on the previous year’s list Equilar said.

The Equilar 200 list includes companies with more than $1 billion in revenue that filed proxy statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission by 1st May, 2017. Total compensation includes information included in the summary compensation table of company proxy statements including salary, cash bonus, stock and options valued at grant date, and other compensation (including benefits and perks).

Last Updated: 4 June 2017
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