According to this fifth annual study of executive pay by compensation expert Rosanna Landis Weaver, 100 CEOs are making several hundred times, or more, the median wage of their employees, even as their companies’ stocks underperform. Her accessible and eye-opening report presents investors and analysts with mounting evidence that excessive executive pay packages can hurt a firm’s shares, raise inequality and invite public scrutiny. But on the upside, Weaver finds, change is beginning to happen.


Executive compensation in the United States has been ballooning for a long time. The average pay of CEOs of S&P 500 firms jumped from $11.5 million to $13.6 million between 2013 and 2017. In 2019, studies based on stock returns and investor votes on compensation show that the chief executives of Fleetcor Technologies, Oracle and Broadcom top the list of “the 100 most overpaid CEOs.” 

In the 1990s, the US Congress enacted an annual corporate tax deduction of up to $1 million for “executive performance-based pay,” but companies found a way...

About the Author

Rosanna Landis Weaver  is a policy expert on corporate governance who provides executive compensation analyses for major nonprofit organizations.

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