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Pay Increase for Head US Execs Last Year

by Staff Contributor on May 30, 2017
Fast Money

Pay packages for the US’ top executives once more escalated in 2016 following its slip the previous year.

Maybe the pay jump is a reflection of the times being that the stocks are once more coming off a strong run, the unemployment rate is low, the economy is percolating and Trump is vowing to carefully hear what corporate America has to say, in addition to easing back what he deems excessive business regulations.

After taking office on January 20th, the businessman-turned-politician has notably met with hundreds of executives, including at least 41 of last year’s 200 best-paid chief executive officers (also known as CEOs), according to the results of a New York Times analysis.

The major winner last year was Thomas Rutledge of Charter Communications, who earned a $98 million pay package, according to the Equilar 200 highest-paid chief executive rankings, done for The New York Times.

Rutledge, 63, thundered to the head of the group after closing his company’s mega-merger, a $65 billion takeover of Time Warner and a smaller competitor. Due to this feat, Rutledge managed to earn a considerably large increase in pay.

Rutledge privately met with Trump in the Oval Office in March. The President showered him with commendations for a plot to add 20,000 jobs, even though the general outlines of that plan had been developed almost two full years prior.

This mixture of the pay increases for chief executives and Trump’s promise to deregulate and slash corporate tax rates makes for the ideal circumstances for what could be the most significant moment for corporate governance since the 2008 financial crisis.

Escalating executive recompense merely broadens the gap between top executives and the vast majority of US workers. Rutledge, for example, made 2617 times as much money as the average US worker, based on the data from last year.

Inconsistencies like that fueled the controversy regarding Trump’s election and his policies even when he was just a potential presidential candidate and, in the aftershock of the strong financial crisis, resulted in the passage of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul Act.

However, Trump’s crew is contemplating rolling back a Dodd-Frank rule that, beginning the following year, would make it considerably easier for employees at a publicly traded company to compare their own pay to that of the company’s chief executive.

In general, technology company CEOs are well represented on the list of 200 best-paid CEOs, alongside executives from financial services companies and media companies.

The best-paid female chief executive that of the company Oracle, named Safra Catz, whose entire package whose estimated value was roughly $40.9 million, placing her the position of the eighth highest-paid CEO in 2016.

Executives in the top 200 who have met Trump ever since his inauguration earlier on this year include Virginia Rometty of IBM, Stephen Wynn of Wynn Resorts and Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin.

Trump, who views himself as the nation’s CEO, has ensured that the ongoing succession of meetings with CEOs has been a priority throughout his first few months in office as president. The visits have provided Trump with the opportunity to broadcast the progress he claims his administration has been making in terms of generating jobs and decreasing regulations.

What has been made clear based on the results of the Equilar study is that multiple CEOs were doing considerably well even prior to Trump taking office. Average compensation for the 200 highest-paid executives—which is a list that changes every year—grew about 2 percent, to $19.7 million, from 2015.

For the 200 specific individuals on this year’s list, 2016 was especially beneficial. Those executives experienced an average increase of 16 percent compared to what they earned in 2015.

Overall, Equilar states that the median salary for CEOs at all of the publicly traded companies with yearly revenues of a minimum of $1 billion came in at $6.14 million, which constitutes a mild decrease from the $6.19 million in 2015.

Featured Image via Wikimedia.

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Staff Contributor
Born and raised New Yorker with foreign parents; aftermaths include: having the tendency to switch languages mid-sentence, an endless stock of funny stories (normally founded on cultural/linguistic misunderstanding), a love of travel and reading, an excessive amount of curiosity (not nosy, just intrigued!), a sincere appreciation for food and coffee, and the ability to react to just about any situation with an infectious bout of laughter.
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