It pays to be at the top. Hundreds of CEOs are out there earning eight-figure salaries of at least $10 million each year, but that’s actually chump change to many top CEOs who rake in a lot more than that.
From Tesla to Amazon, innovative U.S. companies with huge profits pay some huge salaries to top executives. As the heads of companies with no shortage of innovation or capital, 2019’s top earning CEOs of American companies reign supreme in the world market.
Hock E. Tan – Broadcom Inc.
Hock E. Tan is the president and CEO of Broadcom Inc. He has been one of the top paid CEOs since assuming the position in 2016. In 2018, Tan earned $103.2 million. Broadcom, Inc. designs and develops digital-analog semiconductors as well as wireless storage adapters, RF components and fiber optic cables and modules.
Frank Bisignano – First Data
Frank Bisignano is the chairman and president of First Data. He has been the CEO since 2013, and he earned $102.2 million in 2018. Before his tenure at First Data, Bisignano was Vice President at Lehman Brothers and First Fidelity Bank. First Data’s revenue was $12.1 billion in 2018, and his earnings were 2,028 times the median employee salary.
Michael Rapino – Live Nation Entertainment
Michael Rapino is the CEO and president of Live Nation Entertainment, the company formed from the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation. In 2018, he earned $70.6 million, which was 2,893 times the median employee salary. Live Nation Entertainment earned $10.3 billion that year.
Leslie Moonves – CBS
Leslie Moonves served as the CEO and chairman of CBS from 2013 until 2018, when he resigned due to numerous allegations of sexual misconduct. Before his resignation, Moonves earned $68.4 million in 2018, about 595 times the median employee salary. CBS earned $13.7 billion that same year.
Gregory Maffei – Liberty Media Corporation
Gregory Maffei is the CEO and president of Liberty Media as well as the chairman of Live Nation Entertainment, SiriusXM and TripAdvisor. He is also the chairman of Starz and Expedia. Due in part to leadership roles in multiple companies, he netted $67.2 million in 2018. Before becoming the CEO of Liberty Media Group, he was the CFO of Oracle and Microsoft.
Walter Nicholas Howley – TransDigm Group
Walter Nicholas Howley is the chairman and co-founder of TransDigm Group, a company that manufactures aircraft components through various subsidiaries. TransDigm produces ignition systems, gear pumps, electromechanical actuators and controls. In 2018, Howley earned $61.0 million, while TransDigm earned $3.8 billion.
Dexter Goei – Altice USA
First joining Altice N.V. in 2009, Dexter Goei is now the president of the multinational telecom and mass media company and CEO of Altice USA. In 2018, he earned $53.6 million, while the company itself generated $9.3 billion in revenue. Goei spearheaded the company’s entrance into the U.S. market in 2016. Before joining Altice, he worked in investment banking with JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley.
Jeff Bewkes – Time Warner
Jeff Bewkes was CEO of Time Warner from 2008 to 2018 as well as president from 2005 to 2018 and chairman from 2009 to 2018. He is a self-made man who started at Time Warner selling HBO subscriptions to hotels and left as the chairman and CEO. He exited the company in 2018 following AT&T's $65 billion deal to acquire the media and broadcasting giant. Time Warner is the parent company of HBO, Warner Brothers and Turner Broadcasting.
Ron Clarke – FleetCor Technologies
Ron Clarke has been the CEO of FleetCor since 2000 and was appointed to the board of directors in 2003. Before joining the company, he served as president and COO of AHL Services, a staffing firm. FleetCor specializes in payment solutions for businesses and supports them in paying for fuel, tolls and lodging in more than 80 countries.
Stephen Kaufer – TripAdvisor
Stephen Kaufer is the president, CEO and co-founder of TripAdvisor, an online travel research company that offers its customers reviews and opinions on hotels and destinations written by fellow travelers. He made 481 times the media employee salary in 2018 or $43.2 million. The company made $1.6 billion in revenue during the same period.
Brian Duperreault – American International Group
Brian Duperreault is the CEO of American International Group (AIG). He began his career at AIG as an actuary in 1973 and advanced to his current role in May 2017. He earned $42.8 million in 2018, or 697 times the median employee salary. AIG made a whopping $49.5 billion in revenue in 2018.
Dirk Van de Put – Mondelez International
Dirk Van de Put is the chairman and chief executive officer of Mondelez International. He was named CEO in 2017 and became chairman in 2018. He made $42.4 million in 2018, which was 403 times that of the median employee salary. Mondelez International had $25.9 billion in revenue that year.
David Zaslav – Discovery Communications
David Zaslav has been the president and CEO of Discovery Communications since 2007. He earned $42.2 million as CEO in 2018, which is 522 times the amount of the median employee salary. In 2018, Discovery Communications generated $6.9 billion in revenue.
John Donahoe – ServiceNow
John Donahoe is the chief executive officer and president of ServiceNow, a cloud computing company that is headquartered in Santa Clara, California. He earned $41.5 million in 2018 — 250 times the median employee salary. ServiceNow generated $1.9 billion in total revenue that same year.
Mark V. Hurd – Oracle
Mark V. Hurd is the co-CEO of Oracle and also serves on the board of directors. He was previously president and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard until 2010 when he resigned. It’s rumored (but not proven) that he was pressured to resign after a close personal relationship was discovered with a marketing contractor.
Safra Z. Catz – Oracle
Safra Z. Catz is the co-CEO of Oracle. While Hurd takes time off for his health, she is assuming his responsibilities. Oracle reported earnings of $38.8 billion for 2018, with Catz earning $40.7 million for her role.
Ari Bousbib – IQVIA Holdings
IQVIA Holdings is a multinational American company that serves the health information technology industry as well as clinical research. Chairman and CEO Ari Bousbib earned $37.5 million in 2018, about 388 times the median employee salary. The company reported $9.7 billion in revenue in 2018.
Robert A. Iger – The Walt Disney Company
Robert (Bob) Iger is the chief executive officer at The Walt Disney Company. In 2018, he earned $36.3 million. He served as the president of ABC Television and the president and COO of Capital Cities/ABC before it was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 1996.
Martine Rothblatt – United Therapeutics
Martine Rothblatt is the founder and chairwoman of United Therapeutics. In 2018, she was the biopharmaceutical industry’s top-earning CEO, with a salary of $35.9 million. United Therapeutics reported $1.7 billion in revenue for the year with Rothblatt earning 203 times the median employee salary.
Steve Wynn – Wynn Resorts
Steve Wynn is the founder and former chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts. He earned $34.5 million in 2018 as CEO, a salary that was a whopping 909 times that of the median employee salary for the year. Forbes named him the 379th wealthiest American in 2015.
Mindy Grossman – Weight Watchers International
Mindy Grossman is the chief executive officer of Weight Waters International. She earned $33.4 million in 2018 in that role, which is an unbelievable 5,908 times the median employee salary. Weight Watchers International reported revenue of $1.3 billion for the year. She has continuously appeared on Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women lists throughout her impressive career.
Brenton L. Saunders – Allergan
Brenton L. Saunders is the chief executive officer of Allergan, a pharmaceutical company that reported revenue of $1.6 billion in 2018. He has served as CEO since 2014 and earned $32.8 million in 2018. That amount was 349 times the median employee salary for the year.
Margaret Georgiadis – Mattel & Ancestry.com
In 2018, Margaret Georgiadis served as CEO of Mattel. She earned $31.3 million that year in her role, which was 4,987 times the median employee salary. She was appointed as CEO in 2017 to bring a fresh perspective to the brand and its operating model. Mattel has had some tough years for its flagship brands, including American Girl and Fisher-Price. Mattel reported $4.9 billion in revenue in 2018.
Mark D. Okerstrom – Expedia Group
Mark D. Okerstrom is the chief executive officer and president at Expedia Group, a company that provides travel services online for leisure travelers and small businesses. The company services consumers worldwide and provides reservation services in addition to shopping.
Josh Sapan – AMC Networks
Josh Sapan is president and chief executive officer of global entertainment company AMC Networks. He earned $29.6 million in 2018, approximately 449 times the median employee salary for the year. Since assuming his role at AMC Networks in 1995, he has overseen AMC Networks, IFC, We TV, BBC America and Sundance TV. In 2018, AMC Networks reported $2.8 billion in profits.
Jeff Bezos – Amazon
Although Jeff Bezos — CEO and founder of Amazon — topped the list of richest Americans, his annual salary is actually a modest $81,840. (Unbelievable, right?) In 1994, Bezos founded the e-commerce giant in his garage in Seattle. He has remained the CEO and owns almost a 12% stake in the company.
Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook
As Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg made more than $22.5 million in total compensation, but his salary only totaled $1.00 in 2018. According to proxy statements filed in 2018, he made $0 in bonuses and $0 in stock options, so it’s not clear how the eight-figure earnings were generated.
Michael Dell – Dell Technologies
Michael Dell is chairman and chief executive officer of Dell Technologies. In 2018, Dell made $2.39 million, with $950,000 received as salary and $1.42 million received as a bonus. He was not awarded any stock options or stock, but he did earn another $18,000 from other investment opportunities.
Jack Dorsey – Twitter
According to Twitter’s filings, CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey only received a salary of $1.40. The symbolic number is a tribute to the platform's former character limit of 140. From 2015 to 2018, Jack Dorsey declined any compensation at all. Of course, his salary doesn’t mean much, considering his net worth is around $5.4 billion.
Elon Musk – Tesla
Although you may think Elon Musk would pay himself billions a year, according to Tesla’s proxy statement, his 2018 earnings were $0. Don’t feel too sorry for him, however. His net worth is estimated to be more than $19.9 billion.