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CEO Pay Trends

Featuring commentary from 


CEO Pay Trends, an Equilar publication, analyzes the compensation data of chief executive officers at Equilar 500 companies over the last five fiscal years. The Equilar 500 is comprised of the 500 largest, by reported revenue, U.S.-headquartered companies that trade on one of the major U.S. stock exchanges (Nasdaq, NYSE or NYSE American), with adjustments to compare to the sector mix of similar large-cap indices. The data points and figures captured in the report highlight trends in the compensation of chief executives and how companies award that compensation. Meridian Compensation Partners has provided independent commentary to help illustrate how compensation awards are structured and paid to Equilar 500 CEOs.

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Key Findings:

  • Median reported total compensation for Equilar 500 chief executive officers was $11.9 million in 2017, $400,000 more than the previous year’s median and a 21.4% increase from 2013, the first year in the study
  • Despite remaining constant around $15 million the past three years and even slightly decreasing from 2016 to 2017, median total compensation of CEOs in the healthcare sector was the highest of all sectors
  • On average, nearly half of the reported pay mix for CEOs in the Equilar 500, 48.5%, is represented in the form of stock. Conversely, barely 3% of the pay mix is made up of “other” compensation, such as benefits and perquisites
  • 86.5% of Equilar 500 CEOs received an award with a performance condition in 2017, while only 49.8% of the same group was granted an award with time-based options