Skyrocketing compensation to chief executives at large corporations continues to be a topic of heated debate. Nowhere is that more clear than in the latest list of best-paid executives in 2018, which includes well-known names such as Tesla's chief Elon Musk, Chewy CEO Sumit Singh, and Apple's Tim Cook.

Key Takeaways

  • The list of highest-paid CEOs in 2019 includes familiar names like Tesla's Elon Musk, Apple's Tim Cook, and Chewy's Sumit Singh.
  • CEO Elon Musk topped the list.
  • Compensation data includes salaries, bonuses, stock and option awards, and perks.

Listed below are the 10 highest-paid executives in 2019 and ranked according to the Bloomberg Pay Index. Bloomberg's analysis includes salaries, bonuses, and equity awards that are valued at each company’s fiscal year-end. Recurring grants or options are counted in the year they’re bestowed, and one-time grants meant to compensate an executive for several years are allocated over the period as explained in filings.

1. Elon Musk - CEO Tesla

With a total compensation of $595.2 million, Elon Musk's name at the top of this list obviously raises many eyebrows. His electric-car manufacturer, Tesla Inc. (TSLA), posted a $1 billion loss in 2018, and Musk has never wanted a salary (he is paid minimum wage to abide by the law, but he doesn't cash the checks).

2. Apple Inc. - CEO Tim Cook

A big boost to Tim Cook came in the form of an equity grant from over 10 years ago in 2011. His total compensation was $133.7 million in stocks, salary, and a bonus. His stock award was $122 million while his salary was $3 million, a base salary that has remained this figure for the past two years.

3. Charter Communications Inc.- CEO Tom Rutledge

Rutledge received a total of $116.9 million in option awards, bonus, salary, and stock awards in 2019 moving him to the number three spot on this list. There are a handful of media moguls on the Bloomberg list.

4. ViacomCBS Inc.- CEO Joseph Ianniello (Former Acting CEO of CBS)

Awarded $116.5 million in 2019, another media figurehead rises on the Bloomberg Index. Former acting CEO of CBS, Ianniello was awarded a bulk of his salary in perks worth $85 million.

5. Chewy Inc.-CEO Sumit Singh

Pet lovers' financial embrace of the online one-stop shop for furry family members made Chewy an extremely lucrative business. Its CEO was awarded $108.1 million in 2019, including stock options and salary.

According to an article in Bloomberg: "Diane Pelkey, a spokeswoman for online pet retailer Chewy Inc. whose CEO Sumit Singh is fifth on the index with $108.2 million, disputes Bloomberg’s calculation of his pay. Only about a quarter of his shares had vested at the end of 2019, she said in an email."

6. Blackstone Group Inc.-COO Jonathan Gray

Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Gray earned $107.6 million in 2019. Gray is the only Blackstone executive to make the top 10 list, as opposed to previous years. In 2018, Stephen Schwarzman, CEO and chair, Blackstone Group LP., and Hamilton "Tony" E. James, executive vice-chair, Blackstone Group LP., were on the Bloomberg Index list.

7. Intel-CEO Robert Swan

Coming in at number seven on the Index, Intel's Swan earned $99 million in 2019. This amount included his salary, stock awards, perks, option awards, and bonus. Swan is one of four tech giants, like Tim Cook from Apple Inc., who dominated the top 10 list in 2019.

8. Alphabet Inc-CEO Sundar Pichai

Otherwise known as "Google" Alphabet Inc's Pichai earned $86.1 million in 2019. His stock awards were in the amount of $82.1 million and made up a bulk of his full compensation for the year.

9. Microsoft Corp.-CEO Satya Nadella

Rounding up the list of tech giants, Nadella earned $77.2 million from his salary, perks, stock awards, and a $10.7 million bonus in 2019.

10. Sarepta Therapeutics Inc.-CEO Douglas Ingram

Chief Executive Officer Ingram took the final spot on the top 10 list. His earnings totaled $72.2 million in 2019. This amount represents option awards of $68.8 million, a $650,000 salary, and a $731,250 bonus.