Washington Post — Average CEO Earnings Soared to $21.3M, Could Rise Again in 2020 Despite the Coronavirus Recession

September 8, 2020

by Jena McGregor

Average CEO earnings soared to $21.3 million last year and could rise again in 2020 despite the coronavirus recession.

Robin Ferracone, CEO of executive compensation consultancy Farient Advisors, said that while a rise in average 2020 pay for CEOs is possible, it will probably be flat or a little down at the average. In addition to salary cuts and probably lower annual bonuses, many long-term stock incentives for CEOs are called “performance shares,” which are tied to underlying financial metrics that are likely to worsen for many companies.

Still, she said, compensation committees will need to be mindful about how results will resonate with employees, outsiders and investors.

“If a median worker feels prosperous and that they’ve been treated pretty well, they’re fine with the CEO taking home millions upon millions,” she said. “The problem is when the median worker is no longer feeling prosperous. … That is going to be the test this year.”

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About Robin Ferracone

Founder and CEO, Farient Advisors/GECN Group

New York: (646) 626-6931
Los Angeles: (626) 799-2700

As the founder and CEO of Farient Advisors LLC, Robin has led the strategic development and expansion of the executive compensation, performance, and corporate governance advisory firm. Her client work focuses on providing high-impact decision-making support and organizational solutions based on insightful market insights.

With over 30 years of consulting experience, Robin advises clients in business and talent strategies, executive compensation, organization, value management, and performance measurement. She is the author of Fair Pay Fair Play: Aligning Executive Performance and Pay (John Wiley & Sons, 2010). In addition, Robin has authored numerous articles, is a regular contributor to Forbes.com and Directorship magazine, and is often quoted in national publications. She is a frequent presenter for prominent organizations such as the Council of Institutional Investors, Society for Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), and The Conference Board.

Robin formerly served on the board of directors of Trupanion, Inc., where she chaired the compensation committee. In addition, Robin is a trustee emeritus of Duke University. She currently chairs the board of WildAid and is a member of 5050 Women on Boards, NACD, Women Corporate Directors, YPO Gold, and the Trusteeship. For 12 years, Robin has been named to the NACD Directorship 100, a list of the most influential people in corporate governance and the boardroom. In 2014, she was selected as one of EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women, an annual competition recognizing female entrepreneurs. Robin is also a founding partner of the Global Governance and Executive Compensation (GECN) Group collectively serving clients in more than 35 countries across five continents.

Robin received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in management science and economics from Duke University.

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