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- Abigail Disney, who is Walt Disney’s great-niece, criticized the Disney company’s pay practices, specifically the ratio of CEO Bob Iger’s pay to the median worker’s pay.
- As You Sow, a nonprofit focused on shareholder advocacy, calculated the ratio of CEO pay to median employee pay in 2017.
- According to As You Sow, Iger earned more than $36 million in 2017, which was 787 times more than the median salary of a Disney employee.
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Abigail Disney, a great-niece of The Walt Disney Co. founder Walt Disney, called Disney CEO Bob Iger’s pay a “moral issue” while testifying before the US House Committee on Financial Services.
She said that when she raised the issue privately with Iger, she was “quickly and condescendingly brushed aside.” In her testimony, she proposed that the Disney company “raise the salary of its lowest paid workers to a living wage.”
CBS cited a 2018 study by researchers at Occidental College and the Economic Roundtable, which found 73% of workers at Disneyland resort said they did not earn enough to cover basic expenses every month.
The article lambasted the “naked indecency” of Disney CEO Robert Iger’s pay.
Abigail Disney cited data from Equilar showing that Iger earned more than $65 million in 2018, which is 1,424 times more than the median salary of a Disney employee. (The New York Times clarified that the $65 million number encompasses $39.3 million in annual compensation, plus restricted stock awards from the acquisition of 21st Century Fox Assets.)
“I’m not arguing that Iger and others do not deserve bonuses,” Abigail Disney wrote in The Washington Post. “They do. They have led the company brilliantly. I am saying that the people who contribute to its success also deserve a share of the profits they have helped make happen.”
Disney responded to Abigail Disney’s comments in a statement, covered by The New York Times, which said the company pays a starting minimum wage of $15, double the federal minimum wage. The statement also said 90% of Iger’s compensation was based on the company’s financial performance.
Iger is hardly the only CEO who earns significantly more than their employees. The typical CEO made a whopping 312 times their median employees’ salary in 2017, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
And a 2019 Wall Street Journal analysis found the median salary for 132 CEOs in the S&P 500 was $12.4 million in 2018, up from $11.7 million in 2017. According to the Journal, Iger earned roughly $66 million in 2018, which made him the highest-paid CEO on their list of companies disclosing salaries.
Some chief executives also earn salaries that are seemingly disproportionate to their company’s shareholder returns. A 2019 report from As You Sow, a nonprofit focused on shareholder advocacy, ranks the most “overpaid” leaders on the S&P 500.
To figure out who’s overpaid, As You Sow calculated the ratio of CEO pay in 2017 to total shareholder return at each company, as well as the companies where the most shares were voted against the CEO pay package (the first ratio was weighted double).
Because there was a change in CEO at a few companies (Oracle Corp., The Walt Disney Co., TransDigm Group, Inc., and Discovery, Inc.), the salary of the higher-paid CEO was counted.
Below, we’ve listed the 25 most overpaid CEOs according to As You Sow, as well as each of their salaries, the median employee salary at their company, and the pay ratio.
25. Randall Stephenson, AT&T, Inc.
CEO pay: $28,720,720
Median employee pay: $78,437
Pay ratio: 366:1
24. Reed Hastings, Netflix, Inc.
CEO pay: $24,377,499
Median employee pay: $183,304
Pay ratio: 133:1
23. Paal Kibsgaard, Schlumberger NV
CEO pay: $20,759,340
Median employee pay: $88,604
Pay ratio: 234:1
22. Brenton Saunders, Allergan Plc
CEO pay: $32,827,626
Median employee pay: $94,064
Pay ratio: 349:1
- Business Insider
21. Brian Roberts, Comcast Corp.
CEO pay: $32,520,224
Median employee pay: $71,006
Pay ratio: 458:1
20. Ari Bousbib, IQVIA Holdings, Inc.
CEO pay: $38,029,517
Median employee pay: $97,997
Pay ratio: 388:1
19. Richard B. Handler, Jefferies Financial Group, Inc.
CEO pay: $21,787,285
Median employee pay: $44,584
Pay ratio: 489:1
18. Leonard S. Schleifer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
CEO pay: $26,508,058
Median employee pay: $123,418
Pay ratio: 215:1
17. Mark D. Okerstrom, Expedia Group, Inc.
CEO pay: $30,720,457
Median employee pay: $71,696
Pay ratio: 428:1
- Courtesy of Ventas
16. Jeffrey A. Miller, Halliburton Co.
CEO pay: $23,078,364
Median employee pay: $79,636
Pay ratio: 290:1
15. Debra A. Cafaro, Ventas, Inc.
CEO pay: $25,254,607
Median employee pay: $88,630
Pay ratio: 285:1
14. James Cracchiolo, Ameriprise Financial, Inc.
CEO pay: $23,900,309
Median employee pay: $107,082
Pay ratio: 223:1
13. Gary A. Norcross, Fidelity National Information Services, Inc.
CEO pay: $29,141,610
Median employee pay: $44,556
Pay ratio: 654:1
12. Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor, Inc.
CEO pay: $47,933,462
Median employee pay: $99,643
Pay ratio: 481:1
- REUTERS/Steve Marcus
11. David M. Zaslav, Discovery, Inc.
CEO pay: $42,247,984
Median employee pay: $80,858
Pay ratio: 522:1
10. E. Hunter Harrison, CSX Corp.
CEO pay: $151,147,286
Median employee pay: $98,697
Pay ratio: 1531:1
9. Margaret H. Georgiadis, Mattel, Inc.
CEO pay: $31,275,289
Median employee pay: $6,271
Pay ratio: 4,987:1
8. Brian Duperreault, American International Group, Inc.
CEO pay: $43,086,861
Median employee pay: $64,186
Pay ratio: 671:1
7. W. Nicholas Howley, TransDigm Group, Inc.
CEO pay: $61,023,102
Median employee pay: $46,742
Pay ratio: 1,306:1
- Photo by Martin H. Simon – Pool/Getty Images
6. Robert Iger, The Walt Disney Co.
CEO pay: $36,283,680
Median employee pay: $46,127
Pay ratio: 787:1
5. Stephen Wynn, Wynn Resorts Ltd.
CEO pay: $34,522,695
Median employee pay: $44,437
Pay ratio: 777:1
4. Dirk Van de Put, Mondelez International, Inc.
CEO pay: $42,442,924
Median employee pay: $42,893
Pay ratio: 990:1
3. Hock Tan, Broadcom, Inc.
CEO pay: $103,211,163
Median employee pay: NA
Pay ratio: NA
2. Mark V. Hurd/Safra Catz, Oracle Corp.
CEO pay: $81,562,244
Median employee pay: $89,887
Pay ratio: 907:1
1. Ronald F. Clarke, Fleetcor Technologies Inc
CEO pay: $52,643,810
Median employee pay: $34,700
Pay ratio: 1,517:1