Corporate CEO bonuses shed light on American inequality

Written from a press release:

September 19, 2023

A new study by The Stock Dork has shed light on the CEOs who have received the most astonishing bonus payments in recent years. The analysis, which examined bonus payments of CEOs from the top 50 market cap companies over the last five years, reveals a striking disparity in compensation between top executives and the median-paid employees within these companies.

Meanwhile, for most Americans …

  • Men had a median weekly earnings of $1,181.
  • Women had median weekly earnings of $993.
  • The women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio was 84.1 percent, indicating that, on average, women earned 84.1 percent of what men earned.

However, corporate CEOs were paid astronomically in comparison.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), claims the top spot on this eye-opening list. Musk’s average yearly bonus stands at a staggering $456.7 million. A significant portion of this figure can be attributed to a monumental one-time stock option bonus of $2.23 billion in 2018, which remains the largest bonus ever awarded to a CEO. In the context of today’s wages, if Musk were to receive this colossal bonus today, it would equate to him taking home $67,011 for every $1 earned by his median-paid employees. This striking figure underscores the significant income gap between the company’s leadership and its workforce.

In the second position is Sundar Pichai of Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL), with an average yearly bonus of an impressive $98.9 million. In 2022 alone, Pichai received a $10 million cash bonus and $42.2 million in stocks, translating to him taking home $275 in bonus payments for every dollar earned by the median Google employee.

Andy Jassy of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) secures the third spot with an average yearly bonus of $53.4 million. His highest recent bonus, received in 2021, amounted to $211 million in equity. This meant that for every dollar earned by the average Amazon worker, Jassy took home $6,198 in bonus payments.

Safra Catz of Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) ranks fourth on the list, boasting an annual bonus average of $50.8 million. In 2022, Catz was awarded $129 million in stock options, which translates to a remarkable $1,723 in bonuses for every dollar earned by the average Oracle employee. Her compensation heavily leans on stock awards, reflecting Oracle’s long-term growth strategy.

Fifth place is claimed by Tim Cook of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), whose yearly bonus averages $43.9 million. In 2022, Cook received $82 million in stocks, equating to him taking home $982 in stock bonuses for every dollar earned by the average Apple employee. Notably, Apple places a significant emphasis on stock awards for executive bonuses, aligning CEO incentives with shareholder interests.

The study also highlights the notable CEOs who round out the top ten in terms of jaw-dropping bonus payments, including Satya Nadella of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Patrick P. Gelsinger of Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), Shantanu Narayen of Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE), and James P. Gorman of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

The substantial disparities in bonus payments between CEOs and median employees raise important questions about income inequality in corporate settings. These wage gaps can impact employee morale, retention, public perception of companies, and have broader economic implications due to wealth concentration. While some argue that CEOs’ unique responsibilities justify their high compensation, concerns about fairness, equity, and the collective contribution of all employees to a company’s success remain central to the ongoing debate. Striking a balance between attracting top leadership talent and addressing social and economic concerns continues to challenge businesses.

Adam Garcia, Founder of The Stock Dork, commented on the findings, noting the increasing trend of CEOs favoring stock, options, and performance-related rewards, aligning their incentives with company growth and shareholder interests. Garcia also highlighted the significance of stock options, which often allow CEOs to purchase shares at a lower price than the market value, providing them with immediate financial benefits.

The study’s methodology involved an extensive analysis of data from financial statements, SEC filings, and public annual reports from the top 50 market cap companies over the last five years. It also considered the CEO bonus pay ratio, comparing CEO bonuses to the median salary of a company’s workforce, to provide a comprehensive perspective on executive compensation.

RankCEO NameCompanyAverage Yearly Bonus
1.Elon MuskTesla$ 456,797,701
2.Sundar PichaiAlphabet (Google)$ 98,929,951
3.Andy JassyAmazon$ 53,407,804
4.Safra CatzOracle$ 50,794,313
5.Tim CookApple$ 43,948,800
6.Satya NadellaMicrosoft$ 41,198,585
7.Jamie DimonJPMorgan Chase$ 40,624,000
8.Patrick P. GelsingerIntel$ 37,244,160
9.Shantanu NarayenAdobe$ 34,907,765
10.James P. GormanMorgan Stanley$ 31,082,987
11.Lisa SuAMD$ 30,637,481
12.Mike SievertT-Mobile US$ 28,847,819
13.Brian L. RobertsComcast$ 26,195,025
14.Chuck RobbinsCisco$ 23,542,135
15.Brian MoynihanBank of America$ 23,335,585
16.Robert IgerWalt Disney$ 22,216,099
17.Doug McMillonWalmart$ 20,598,238
18.Sasan K. GoodarziIntuit$ 19,546,112
19.John DonahoeNike$ 19,433,358
20.Charles W. ScharfWells Fargo$ 18,506,294
21.Mike WirthChevron$ 18,370,195
22.Hans VestbergVerizon$ 17,900,519
23.James QuinceyCoca-Cola$ 17,861,313
24.Albert BourlaPfizer$ 17,390,471
25.Jim UmplebyCaterpillar$ 17,277,797
26.Richard A. GonzalezAbbVie$ 17,248,311
27.Ryan LanceConocoPhillips$ 16,866,650
28.Marc N. CasperThermo Fisher Scientific$ 16,652,058
29.David A. RicksEli Lilly$ 16,538,650
30.Joaquin DuatoJohnson & Johnson$ 15,661,369
31.Marc BenioffSalesforce$ 15,480,045
32.Darren WoodsExxon Mobil$ 15,333,665
33.Jensen HuangNVIDIA$ 15,208,692
34.Ramon LaguartaPepsico$ 15,159,416
35.Robert B. FordAbbott Laboratories$ 14,059,614
36.Ted SarandosNetflix$ 13,922,949
37.Greg PetersNetflix$ 12,930,251
38.Ryan McInerneyVisa$ 12,653,393
39.Hock E. TanBroadcom$ 11,862,690
40.Rainer M. BlairDanaher$ 10,718,457
41.Michael MiebachMastercard$ 9,445,306
42.Jon R. MoellerProcter & Gamble$ 9,131,583
43.Chris KempczinskiMcDonald$ 8,200,180
44.Robert M DavisMerck$ 7,946,195
45.Jacek OlczakPhilip Morris PM$ 7,822,663
46.Haviv IlanTexas Instruments$ 7,338,564
47.Andrew WittyUnitedHealth$ 7,237,224
48.W. Craig JelinekCostco$ 5,835,800
49.Edward DeckerHome Depot$ 5,492,700
=50.Warren BuffettBerkshire Hathaway$ –
=50.Mark ZuckerbergMeta Platforms (Facebook)$ –

Source –

Rate this post

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Bloomingtonian on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!