US CEO Pay Climbs Nearly 13% Among Early Filers

ISS Corporate Solutions Inc., a provider of compensation and governance tools and advisory services, has announced findings from an analysis of US CEO pay figures for companies reporting their financials through April 13, 2015.

Nationally, an analysis of ExecComp Analytics data finds total median CEO pay jumped 12.7%, fueled principally by large increases in the “Change in Pension and Nonqualified Deferred Earnings” segment, most often driven by actuarial increases in the value of executive pensions. Among these companies, average CEO total grant-date pay (including changes in pension values) totaled US$6,433,296, compared with US$5,538,002 for the previous year. Excluding pension changes and among these companies with early proxy statement filings, the median increase in total CEO compensation was 7.2%.

The analysis looked at more than one-third of Russell 3,000 companies (1,211) where the CEO’s tenure spanned a minimum two-year period. Within this universe, 791 company CEOs, or roughly two-thirds of the total, saw a pay increase for fiscal 2014, a two percentage point increase over the previous period.

“While the principal driver underlying this year’s increases is changes in pension value, which account for about one-half of the total year-over-year jump, other factors continue to influence executive compensation,” says John Roe, Head of Advisory at ISS Corporate Solutions. “Among firms that use equity compensation, the median grant date value of stock awards — most of which were allocated in late 2013 or early 2014 — increased by 11.9% thanks in part to optimism resulting from strong 2013 stock market performance.”

Looking regionally at 14 key metropolitan areas with 20 or more corporate filers in 2015, the analysis found Connecticut-area CEOs saw the largest median pay increases at 38.7%, followed by those in the San Francisco area at 19.5% and the Washington, DC area at 15.4%. At the other end, Denver-area CEOs saw median pay gains of just 2.3%, behind those in Chicago, who netted median gains of 3.0%. Ninety-eight New York City area corporations filing thus far in 2015, meanwhile, saw double digit gains netting a median increase of 12.3%.

ISS Corporate Solutions’ pay data is currently available for the following metropolitan statistical areas: New York, Houston, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Washington, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Jose, Bridgeport, and Denver.

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