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OAKLAND, CA: February 28, 2019. Shareholder advocacy non-profit As You Sow has published its latest report on the 100 most overpaid US CEOs as compared to their companies’ median employee compensation.

Stephen Kaufer of TripAdvisor places No.12 with an annual salary of US$49.9 million compared to an employee median of US$99,643; and Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom is at No.17 with US$30.7 million compared to a median of US$71,696.

Top of the list (pictured) is Ronald Clarke of Georgia-based Fleetcor Technologies that provides fuel cards and workforce payment products and services internationally. Last year he received a reported US$52.64 million compared to a median employee salary of US$34,700 – a pay ratio of 1517:1.

As You Sow report author Rosanna Landis Weaver says what has changed the most over several years is that more large shareholders are voting against CEO pay packages, and those who are not are more isolated and defensive.25 Most Overpaid CEOs in America

Several funds, with assets of more than US$100 billion each have more than doubled the number of CEO pay packages they have voted against. According to Weaver, the largest U.S. pension fund, California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), with assets of more than US$350 billion, has increased its CEO pay package opposition by a factor of almost eight.

Despite the advocacy, As You Sow says CEO pay continues to increase with the average compensation on the S&P 500 growing from US$11.5 million in 2013 to US$13.6 million in 2017 At the same time its data suggests the companies with overpaid CEOs underperform the S&P 500.

“It is gratifying to see the improved voting records of so many of these funds, who are holding companies and boards accountable for excessive CEO pay packages,” said Weaver, who is also the programme manager of Executive Compensation at As You Sow. “We hope this trend continues. We believe that the private conversations, known as engagements, are insufficient to deal with the systemic problems.”

As in prior years, the research shows that pension funds give CEO pay packages more scrutiny and a greater level of opposition than financial manager controlled funds. Also, in general, European based investment funds vote against CEO pay packages at a greater rate than those in the US.

“The extraordinary increase in CEO pay is contributing to widening inequalities of income and wealth in America. Shareholders can and should take action on this,” said Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labor and now Chancellor's professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. “European pension funds have the right idea. US pension funds need to step up.”

As You Sow is a non-profit shareholder advocacy organisation. Founded in 1992, it promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies.

The 100 most overpaid US-based CEOs

 

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