News & Opinion | May 28, 2019 4:01 pm

CEOs Are Making More Money Than Ever

Topping the list is none other than Elon Musk with a $2.3 billion paycheck

elon musk
Tesla founder Elon Musk is the highest-paid CEO of all time.
Joshua Lott/Getty Images

While there’s rarely a bad time to be a CEO, now is probably one of the best in recent memory.

According to The New York Times, American CEOs are taking home bigger paychecks than ever before. At the very top is none other than Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, who was just approved for a record-breaking $2.3 billion pay package. According to the Times, Musk’s pay marks an all-time high.

While not everyone can make a Musk-level salary, the rest of the country’s CEOs aren’t exactly wanting for much. In 2018, Equilar’s annual survey of the 200 highest-paid chief executives in America found that the median CEO raked in $18.6 million, and their good fortune is only growing. These numbers represented a $1.1 million increase from the previous year.

According to the Times, CEO pay is increasing at almost twice the rate of ordinary wages. The average American private-sector worker saw a 3.2 percent raise in the same year CEOs saw their pay jump 6.3 percent.

CEOs are enjoying these gains in spite of recent efforts to curb pay at the top, including a requirement demanding companies disclose the ratio of CEO to median employee pay. Regardless of these efforts, CEO payouts remain on the rise, even in the face of scandal and often, as the Times notes, contrary to logic.

Moreover, it turns out CEOs may even be receiving greater compensation than reported. According to the Times, Equilar’s analysis is based on headline compensation numbers from proxy statements, which are merely estimates. Some analysts estimate the rewards actually end up much larger than companies claim.

While Musk topped the chart by a significant margin, some of 2018’s other highest-paid CEOs include David M. Zaslav, the chief executive of the entertainment company Discovery at $129.5 million, as well as 2018’s highest-paid woman, Safra A. Catz, one of Oracle’s two co-CEOs, who each received payouts of $108 million.

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