Korn Ferry Institute – The $1 CEO: Worth It, Not Worth It?

August 23, 2019

Briefings For The Boardroom

There aren’t many things you can get for just $1 these days—a small bottle of water, a lottery ticket, maybe a toothbrush. And in some instances, a CEO.

Indeed, while the average base salary for CEOs of large US companies keeps rising each decade, more than a dozen head honchos of Fortune 1000 firms in that time have basically taken a pass on an annual salary, usually preferring instead to ride up the value of the stock they picked up as the founder-CEO of their company. These include some big names, from Tesla’s Elon Musk to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to Oracle’s Larry Ellison; and certainly, in an era with such intense public scrutiny on corporate-leader pay, they seem  like a good deal for boards.

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