Executive Pay Decreases in 2009

July 2, 2010    

Although executive pay has steadily increased over the last several years, it took a downward turn in 2009.

Kansas City, Kan. – Over the last year, executive compensation has come under a firestorm of criticism from the media, politicians and the public alike.  As a result of the negative publicity, companies have been put in the unique position of trying to develop compensation plans that will motivate and retain top employees while avoiding public outcry. Executive Compensation 2009/2010 reports the average base salary of a Chief Executive Officer is $346,600.

Although executive pay has steadily increased over the last several years, it took a downward turn in 2009.  Since 2008, the average base salary of a CEO in the United States has decreased by 9.3 percent.  Chief Operating Officers currently earn $214,700, 11 percent less than last year. Chief Information Officers saw a decrease of 2.1 percent to $175,300.  The average base salary of Chief Financial Officers remained stable in 2009, with a slight increase of less than 1 percent.

“The attention executive pay has garnered over the past year is challenging companies to make drastic changes to the overall design of executive compensation packages,” said Amy Kaminski, manager of marketing programs for Compdata Surveys, the nation’s leading compensation and benefits survey data provider. “While greater emphasis will be placed on sustaining long-term growth, companies must maintain some semblance of balance between long and short-term incentives in order to avoid losing key employees, and their knowledge, to a competitor.”

Average base salaries differ by company size as CEOs at companies with over 5,000 employees earn $542,300. CEOs at organizations with 501 to 1,000 employees are paid $361,300, compared to companies with 201 to 500 employees, $300,800. CEOs at organizations with fewer than 100 employees earn $264,700.

According to the newly released results, executive compensation also varies by industry. The average base salary of a Chief Financial Officer in the insurance industry is $232,200, while CFOs in healthcare earn $208,900. The utilities industry pays their CFOs $194,900 on average, compared to those in banking and finance, $191,500.  CFOs earn the least in the not-for-profit industry, $173,900.

About the Survey
Executive Compensation 2009/2010 analyzes national and regional data by base pay and total cash compensation for over 65 executive and senior management positions. Executive perquisite programs, as well as long- and short-term incentives are also reported. Information was collected from nearly 5,000 organizations across the country with almost 25,000 incumbents.

Compdata Surveys is the nation’s leading compensation and benefits survey data provider. Thousands of U.S. organizations provide data each year ensuring the reliability of our results. Compdata Surveys has been providing comprehensive data at affordable prices to organizations from coast to coast since 1988.  For further information about the compensation and benefits surveys, contact Amy Kaminski at (800) 300-9570.


Press Contact:

Amy Kaminski
Compdata Surveys
(800) 300-9570
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