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Here Are The 10 Highest-Paid CEOs In America

CEOs have the power to transform a company and their job comes with a lot of responsibility, so it's not a surprise they are paid insane amounts.
UPDATED JAN 22, 2024
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images | Justin Sullivan | (C) Getty Images |  Justin Sullivan (R) | Getty Images |  Boris Streubel
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images | Justin Sullivan | (C) Getty Images | Justin Sullivan (R) | Getty Images | Boris Streubel

Highest Paid CEOs

Getty Images | Photo by Justin Sullivan
Getty Images | Photo by Justin Sullivan

Being the highest-ranking executive of an organization comes with a lot of risk and responsibility. So, it comes as no surprise that they are often the best remunerated in the company. While the average salary of CEOs in the US is just at par with many skilled professions, the top-paid CEOs do end up making a pretty large sum. When the organization does well, the individual salaries of the CEOs soar along with the revenue, but do they suffer when the firm cuts salaries and lays off employees? Some do, the biggest example is Apple Inc.'s head Tim Cook, who reportedly took a 40% pay cut, as noted in the company's official SEC filing. Here's us counting down the highest-compensated CEOs in America this year. However, there's one name that you won't find on the list published by Wall Street Journal is that of Musk who recently stepped down as the CEO of X (formerly known as Twitter), and reportedly works for Tesla for free. That doesn't mean he is not compensated for the work he does when it comes to his electric car-making venture. Musk had inked a different plan when it came to remuneration. The options detailed in the plan that was chalked out in 2018 were based on the company hitting 12 specific milestones. The company has already hit 4 of the 12 milestones, reaching $20 billion in revenue, so his absence from the list is in the way an indication of him not being one of the richest CEOs, just the only one without a salary. 

1. Stephen Shwarzman- Blackstone

Getty Images | Stephen Shwarzman
Getty Images | Jemal Countess

Stephan Schwarzman founded the private equity firm Blackstone back in 1985 which grew into the world's largest buyout firm, with $941 billion in assets, as per Forbes. Schwarzman, an avid Republican supporter, received more than $1 billion in dividends from his Blackstone shares and $253.1 million in compensation in 2022, as per Reuters. He entered the private equity world in 1987 and raised close to $800 million that he used to purchase companies using a strategy called leveraged buyouts which made the company what it is today. His salary as a CEO as of 2023 is around $235 million.

2. Sundar Pichai- Alphabet

Cover Image Source: GettyImages/CadoMaestro
Cover Image Source: GettyImages/CadoMaestro

Sundar Pichai who is the current CEO of Google's parent company Alphabet is one of the highest-paid professionals in the world today. Last year he took home an astounding $226 million in compensation which also included $218 in stock rewards. With the company laying off employees in the last few quarters, the mammoth salary of Sundar Pichai has been a topic of many fiery discussions. This came at a time when Google is entering the domain of AI and looking to compete with Microsoft's various initiatives in the sector. Pichai became the CEO of Alphabet in 2020 after serving as the CEO of Google for fifteen years. 

3. Stephen Scherr- Hertz

Getty Images | Stephen Munday
Getty Images | Stephen Munday

Stephen Scherr is the third highest-paid professional in the U.S.currentlyt with a total yearly compensation of $182 million. The former Goldman Sachs executive also made $3.4 million in salary and bonus. As per the official website, he is playing a pivotal role in "transforming the iconic American company into a global leader in shared mobility, electrification, and digital-first customer experience." The famous car rental company elected him to the position in 2022 to replace Mark Fields. 

4. Barry McCarthy- Peloton

Getty Images | 	Kevin Dietsch
Getty Images | Kevin Dietsch

Barry McCarthy was brought on board when the fitness brand Peloton was struggling and was offered a cool $168 million in compensation this year. Ever since his joining in February, McCarthy's prorated base for 2022 is $357,692 along with $167 million in stock options. To be able to cash in on the stock option, McCarthy had to buy the 8 million shares at $38.77 per share and then sold them for a profit. McCarthy started from scratch, the company has already cut 500 jobs which is around 12% of the workforce. He is focusing beyond D2C sales through partnerships to sell on big e-commerce platforms like Amazon.

5. Michael Rapino- Live Nation

Getty Images | Kevin Dietsch
Getty Images | Kevin Dietsch

A person whose career began in the music industry as a promoter for Core Audience quickly became known for his ability to manage large-scale concerts and events. In 2005 he was elected as the CEO of Live Nation and has since played a pivotal role in transforming the company for the better and making it a global entertainment powerhouse. The company merged with Ticketmaster which is the now the largest live entertainment company. His total compensation in the last fiscal year was $139 million.

6. Safra Catz- Oracle

Getty Images | 	Justin Sullivan
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

The highest-paid female executive joined the software company Oracle back in 1999 and has been a member of the board of directors since 2001. She is known to have driven Oracle's 2005 efforts to acquire software rival PeopleSoft in a $10.3 billion takeover. Back in 2009, she was named the 12th most powerful woman in the business by Forbes and was ranked the 16th most powerful businesswoman. Catz's current compensation is a whopping $138 million.

7. Douglas Ingram- Sarepta Therapeutics

YouTube | CNBC
YouTube | CNBC

He is the highest-paid pharma executive currently. Ingram's base salary is just over $1.5 million which means that the majority of his compensation can be attributed to the stock rewards he gets. The pharma company's net revenue grew by 38% from the year before which also affected the total compensation of the CEO. Ingram reportedly owns around 25,026 units of Sarepta Therapeutics Inc stock worth over $38,578,215, as per Wallmine.  His total compensation was around $125 million, as per the WSJ report.

8. Bill Ready-Pinterest

YouTube | CNBC
YouTube | CNBC

The former executive president and chief operating officer of PayPal and the former President of Commerce of Google is now the CEO of Pinterest. He joined the company just last year replacing the long-serving CEO Ben Silbermann. Bill Ready will receive a base salary of $400,000 and is also eligible for a stock option award to buy around 8.6 million Class A shares."In our next chapter, we are focused on helping Pinners buy, try and act on all the great ideas they see," Ben Silbermann the Ex CEO who is still a board member, said. "Bill is a great leader for this transition."

9. Kiwi Camara- CS Disco

NYSE | YouTube
NYSE | YouTube

The youngest on the list is the 39-year-old CEO who is leading the Austin-based tech firm CS Disco Inc. Camar secured a whopping $110 million in earnings last FY making him one of the highest-paid CEOs of the year coming in before Tim Cook. The company CS Disco made $135.2 million in revenue marking an increase in a net loss of $24.3 million, however, that did not stop Kiwi to stay in the top game. Camara has a base salary of $500,000 salary and got the rest from his stock awards.

10. Tim Cook- Apple

Image Source: GettyImages
Image Source: GettyImages

As mentioned, Apple Inc's CEO will take a more than 40% pay cut this year the year earlier as the company adjusts how it calculates its compensation partly based on decisions taken by the CEO himself. Cook has reportedly earned a base salary of $3 million in the past three years and his stock awards worth $98.7 million in 2021 and $99.4 million in 2022. The development comes at a time when the company's shares have slightly edged down and the stock has seen a decline of 23% in the past year.