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- Our tech and communications compensation database has data for executives from 93 IT and communications firms in the S&P 500.
- The database includes compensation numbers for executives at firms such as Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Disney, including salary, bonuses, and incentive awards.
- Data was pulled from the companies’ most recently filed SEC documents.
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Earlier this month, S&P Global Market Intelligence reported that the average total CEO compensation for tech, media and communications executives was higher than in all other sectors in 2019, at $26.3 million. The next highest-paid group of CEOs were those in the financial-services sector, whose average total compensation was $8 million less.
To help people better understand the compensation that technology and communications executives were receiving, we created a database of the most recent publicly available compensation data for information-technology and communications firms in the S&P 500. The database below includes firms like Apple, Twitter, Verizon, Walt Disney, and Facebook.
What the people running the biggest tech and media companies earn
The database shows the most recently reported compensation data for executives from 93 firms — it lists salaries, bonus awards, non-equity incentive plan awards, equity awards, and other compensation, all elements that typically make up the total reported compensation for executives.
For example, our database can show you that while Twitter reported that CEO Jack Dorsey made $1.40 in total compensation, the chief financial officer and next three highest-paid employees at Twitter made more than $6 million each in total compensation (type “Twitter” in the search bar).
If you search “Netflix,” you’ll see that Reed Hastings, the company’s CEO, made $700,000 in base salary, but that’s the lowest salary for the executives listed in the streaming giant’s most recent proxy statement — the highest salary for an executive listed in the firm’s latest release was $18 million, which went to Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer. (It’s worth noting that Hastings came out ahead when you look at total compensation.)
Sorting through SEC filings for 93 companies
At various times of the year, or with specific events, public companies are required to file financial documents and some news releases with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In one of these documents, called the proxy statement, or the DEF 14A, firms must disclose the compensation for a group of executives called its “proxy officers,” which must include the CEO, chief financial officer, and the three other highest-compensated employees at the firm.
Proxy statements each year are typically released in the lead-up to companies’ annual shareholder meetings, so the compensation data disclosed can provide good insight into how the firm is thinking about its compensation strategy and how it lines up with broader business goals.
The database is below, followed by a brief description of each column and what the numbers mean. In the table, you can click any title heading to sort (for example, you can click “Salary” to sort the table by salary from low to high, and click it again to sort from high to low). You can also search for a specific executive or company using the search bar. The table also scrolls horizontally. Navigate or scroll to the right to view all available data.
What the terms in the table mean:
- Salary: The salary an executive earns in a given year.
- Bonus/non-equity incentive plan: Typically cash grants for performance in the short term. Bonuses are typically one-off awards, while anything in the column titled “non-equity incentive plan” typically means the awards are granted as part of a firm’s short-term incentive plan and granted in cash (hence the “non-equity” label). Short-term incentives are thought of as part of “at-risk” pay, meaning that the executive must hit goals or benchmarks to receive the award.
- Stock awards/option awards: Equity awards based on achievement within a firm’s long-term incentive plan. Long-term incentives are also considered “at-risk” pay. Stock and option awards are two different types of equity awards — stocks are direct equity awards, while options give the executive the right to buy shares at a specific price.
- Other compensation: This number includes any value from the compensation data related to pension plans or nonqualified deferred-compensation earnings. It also includes any payments designated as “other compensation,” which can include payment for things like personal or home security, employees’ benefits plans, country-club fees, fees related to use of company aircraft, and even relocation expenses.
- Total compensation: All amounts summed.