5 Top Paid CEOs


Becoming the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a Fortune 500 company is an impressive accomplishment for anyone. It is not an easy task being the top officer- you're responsible for the overall performance of the entire firm. The trade-off is that the CEO is generally highly compensated for the responsibility. A CEO's total compensation can be made up of salary, bonuses, stock awards, stock options, inventive plans, profit sharing, grants and other various payments. According to analysis from The Associated Press, the average CEO of the top 350 firms made roughly $14.1 million in 2012. Being at the helm has considerable financial rewards, and the top CEOs made far above the nation's average.

Tim Cook - Apple

Since joining Apple in 1998, CEO Tim Cook now brings home $1.4 million in salary, nearly 3 million in bonuses and over $36 million in stock.

Larry Ellison - Oracle

Another Silicon Valley alumnus to top the list is Larry Ellison, the CEO and founder of Oracle. With a salary of only $1 annually, it is hard to believe that Ellison falls in the second spot. The reason Ellison is No. 2 is that he received roughly $77.5 million through non-equity incentive plan compensation, stock options and other compensation in 2011. Ellison founded Oracle in 1977 and has remained the company's CEO since inception.

Leslie Moonves - CBS

Moonves was elected president and CEO of one of the world's largest media companies. He was previously the co-president and co-COO of Viacom, the parent company to CBS until Viacom split into two publicly traded companies in 2006. At the time of the split, Moonves was appointed to his current position. With an annual salary of $3.5 million, Moonves cashed in almost $70 million in 2011. The majority of his total compensation was accumulated from nearly $55 million in bonuses and option awards.

Ronald Johnson - J.C. Penny

Ronald Johnson created one of the most successful retail stores to date. Previously a senior vice president for Apple, he was one of the creators behind the Apple retail store. As retail chief, Johnson led Apple to the highest sales per square foot out of any retailer. He left Apple in November 2011 to become CEO of J.C. Penny, a leading department store in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Although Johnson was only head of the store for a few months, he still managed to receive over $53 million in compensation in 2011.

Sanjay Jha - Motorola Mobility

Making roughly $46 million as the CEO of Motorola Mobility in 2011, Sanjay Jha left Motorola after the Google acquisition closed in May 2012. He still managed to receive a severance package of an additional $65 million. This left many to wonder how he was able to depart with a golden parachute. Jha was replaced by longtime Google executive Dennis Woodside as the new CEO of Motorola Mobility. Jha was originally hired in 2008 as Motorola Inc. co-CEO and became the CEO of Motorola Mobility when it split from Motorola, now called Motorola Solutions, in early 2011.

Nothing contained in this publication is intended to constitute legal, tax, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type. The general information contained in this publication should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from a licensed professional.

  1. No results found.
Related Articles
  1. Managing Wealth

    A Guide To CEO Compensation

    Make sure you assess whether a CEO has a stake in doing a good job for you, the shareholder.
  2. Personal Finance

    Top-earning CEOs Often Run the Worst Performers

    After examining more than 800 CEOs at 429 large and mid-sized U.S. companies, MSCI determined that the best-paid CEOs often have the worst stock performance
  3. Managing Wealth

    What CEOs Actually Do

    CEOs are responsible for the overall operation of a business, and are usually elected by shareholders and the board of directors.
  4. Retirement

    8 Justifications For Sky-high CEO Salaries (AAPL, GE)

    Why are CEO salaries so astronomically high? There may be more to the story than you think.
  5. Investing

    Pages From The Bad CEO Playbook

    Excess compensation, golden parachutes, tunneling and IPO spinning make these bad executives even worse.
  6. Investing

    The 5 Highest Paid CEOs

    While the media and lawmakers discuss whether it's right or wrong, these CEOs have earned gargantuan salaries in the last year.
  7. Investing

    The Best CEOs Listen To The Street

    Studies show that transparency and listening to the market are a winning combination for CEOs and the companies they run.
  8. Trading

    Evaluating Executive Compensation

    Find out how to determine whether a CEO is being overpaid.
  9. Investing

    The Pros and Cons of Executives' Pay Tied to Stock Performance

    Watch for situations where lavish executive compensation is either not justified by total shareholder return or rationalized by non-GAAP measures.
Hot Definitions
  1. Perkins Loan

    A loan program that provides low-interest student loans to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate exceptional ...
  2. Wealth Management

    A high-level professional service that combines financial/investment advice, accounting/tax services, retirement planning ...
  3. Assets Under Management - AUM

    The market value of assets that an investment company manages on behalf of investors. Assets under management (AUM) is looked ...
  4. Subprime Auto Loan

    A type of auto loan approved for people with substandard credit scores or limited credit histories. There is no official ...
  5. Racketeering

    A fraudulent service built to serve a problem that wouldn't otherwise exist without the influence of the enterprise offering ...
  6. Federal Debt

    The total amount of money that the United States federal government owes to creditors. The government's creditors include ...
Trading Center