Mixed pay picture for women at forefront of top US companies

May 30, 2023 07:50 PM PDT | By PAMEDIA
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Last year was a mixed bag pay-wise for the women who run companies in the US S&P 500 stock market index, divs show.

Compensation for women CEOs at America’s top companies increased for more than half of them, but the median pay package fell 6%, according to research.

Of the 343 CEOs in the compensation survey of S&P 500 companies carried out by the AP and Equilar, only 20 were women.

Top CEOs
This combination of photos show the five top paid women CEOs in 2022- Lisa Su of Advanced Micro Devices, Mary Barra of General Motors, Lynn Good of Duke Energy; From bottom left, Phebe Novakovic of General Dynamics and Adena Friedman of Nasdaq (AP)

Because this is a small group, changes in pay for only a few can easily skew the overall divs.

The drop comes after a 26% jump in the value of pay packages for female CEOs in 2021, a year when compensation reflected a recovering economy and soaring stock prices and profits.

Many chief executives were rewarded for steering their companies through the worst of the pandemic.

Overall, women CEOs saw their performance bonuses fall 13% to 2.8 million dollars (£2.2 million) last year and stock awards fall 4% to an average of 10 million dollars (£8 million).

Phebe Novakovic
General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic (General Dynamics via AP)

Their median total compensation fell 6% to 14.7 million dollars (£11.8 million). The median pay for male CEOs rose 1% to 14.8 million dollars (£11.9 million).

Lorraine Hariton, president & CEO of Catalyst, a non-profit organisation focused on women in the workplace, said: “We still do not have enough women CEOs.

“It’s hard to make a comment about pay when we really don’t have a big enough sample size.”

Lisa Su, CEO of Advanced Micro Devices, was the highest paid female CEO in the AP survey for the fourth year in a row, but she slipped to 26th highest paid overall, from 22nd last year.

Ms Su was the highest paid of all CEOs, men and women, in 2019.

Adena Friedman
Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman (AP)

The AP’s and Equilar’s compensation study included pay data for 343 CEOs at S&P 500 companies who have served at least two fiscal years at their companies, which filed proxy statements between January 1 and April 30.

Some notable female CEOs are not included because they became CEO less than two years ago or their companies file proxy statements at a different time, including Roz Brewer at Walgreens Boots Alliance, Jane Fraser at Citigroup and Linda Rendle at Clorox.

Most of a CEO’s pay package consists of stock and stock options awards. At AMD, stock awards and options made up more than 90% of Ms Su’s pay. Her total pay package of 30.2 million dollars (£24.3 million) was up 2% from her package the previous year.

Mary Barra
General Motors chief executive Mary Barra (AP)

Nasdaq’s CEO Adena Friedman received the biggest pay raise, a 40% jump. That was mostly due to a performance-based stock option award with a value of 10 million dollars (£8 million), associated with the renewal of her employment agreement for an additional five years.

Half of the stock option award will become available after five years of employment, and half will be awarded if Friedman reaches an earnings target in five years. Her total pay package is valued at 28 million dollars (£22.5 million).

Executives could see steeper pay cuts in 2023 when boards consider the full effect of the stock market’s downturn, said Kelly Malafis, a partner at consulting firm Compensation Advisory Partners.

The S&P 500 fell nearly 20% in 2022.


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