Pay for health care CEOs exceeds all other industries

Gap narrowing between for-profit, not-for-profit compensation

The chief executives of devicemakers, insurance companies, and other health care firms received bigger compensation packages in 2012 than their peers in other industries, according to an annual survey by the executive-compensation data firm Equilar.

This year, researchers culled data from regulatory filings submitted between Jan. 1 and April 30 that detailed the pay of 323 CEOs who had been leading an S&P 500 company for at least two years. Annual compensation was calculated based on salary, bonus, perks, stock awards, stock option awards, and other pay components, according to the Associated Press.

Overall, Equilar determined that median compensation for S&P 500 CEOs increased by 6.5% to $9.7 million in 2012. The biggest changes in compensation last year came from stock, which increased by 17.2%, and from stock options, which declined by 16%.

Using the survey results, Equilar ranked 2012 median CEO pay by industry:

  • Health care ($11.1 million);
  • Industrial goods ($11 million);
  • Services ($10.9 million);
  • Financial ($9.8 million);
  • Consumer goods ($9.5 million);
  • Basic materials ($9.3 million);
  • Technology ($9.2 million); and
  • Utilities ($7.5 million).

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the data show that CEOs running for-profit health companies tend to earn more than those running not-for-profit health companies, although the gap is gradually narrowing (AP/Boston Globe, 5/22; AP/Washington Post, 5/23; AP/San Jose Mercury News, 5/23; Doyle, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 6/2).


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