NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

CEO Compensation Now Exceeds Pre-Recession Levels

The AP analyzed the pay packages of Wall Street's Chief Executive Officers and found that as of 2010, it's as if the recession never happened:

CEOs at the nation's largest companies were paid better last year than they were in 2007, when the economy was booming, the stock market set a record high and unemployment was roughly half what it is today.

The typical pay package for the head of a company in the Standard & Poor's 500 was $9 million in 2010, according to an analysis by The Associated Press using data provided by Equilar, an executive compensation research firm. That was 24 percent higher than a year earlier, reversing two years of declines.

Back in early April, USA Today provided similar analysis using different data from GovernanceMetrics International. They found CEO pay increased by 27 percent in 2010, which compares to an increase of just 2.1 percent for ordinary workers in the private sector. That 27 percent jump, reports USA Today, was "one of the largest increases in recent history."

The AP reports that the highest-paid CEO in 2010 was Philippe Dauman of Viacom who received a pay package of $84.5 million, "two and a half times what he made the year before." His compensation package included stock and options valued at $54.2 million.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit

Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.