Surprising news on CEO salaries

From Barron’s:

CEO Compensation Rose to Another Record in 2023

The 11.4% median increase for 100 top CEOs was well ahead of the 4.3% gain for the average worker.

So yes, median pay for America’s top chief executive officers rose again, climbing 11.4% in 2023 to a record $23.7 million, according to [a new study by pay consulting group Equilar] —though beneath those headline numbers lie some intriguing trends. The increase in CEO pay is well ahead of the 3.4% inflation rate in 2023 and the 4.3% gain for the average worker. Equilar’s list includes the largest CEO pay packages at companies with revenue of at least $1 billion that filed their proxies to the Securities and Exchange Commission by March 31. The data reflect 2023 figures.

“Will the trend of outsize salary increases for CEOs continue into the future? It can’t forever,” says Jonas Johnson, vice president of research at compensation consulting firm Economic Research Institute. “Twenty, thirty years of 8% gains, you’re looking at double in compensation every seven years, and that can only go on for so long. At some point the numbers become unsustainable.”

Har har har. Invest in pitchforks.


…said the “compensation expert” who likely makes similar outlandish compensation serially consulting with the Fortune 500 telling them their pay is too low. “How do you know?” “Cuz I just made $100,000 telling your competitor the same thing and they raised their salary pool for next year and now have a higher average than you.”

It’s great work, if you can get it.



iirc, when I first held Boeing stock, thirty years ago, CEO Frank Shrontz pulled in a couple million per year. Now, with the company’s reputation in tatters, it’s commanding lead in commercial aviation gone, Calhoun is paid ten times what Shrontz was paid.

Yes, at some point, CEO compensation will completely consume the company. One need only look at how companies today bankrupt themselves with stock buyback expense, to line the CEO’s pocket to see the end state.



Perhaps he performed well against goals set by the Board,:

Boeing awards outgoing CEO Dave Calhoun a 45% pay rise

$32.8mn package comes as the manufacturer tries to contain a crisis of confidence in its quality

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CEO compensation being completely divorced from company performance supports a prima facie case that the BoD is a tool of the CEO, rather than the CEO’s supervisor.