Here’s the Secret of Being a Highly-Paid CEO: Have a Friend Set Your Salary

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


What’s the secret to being a highly-paid CEO of a Fortune 500 company? Sales growth? Earnings growth? Impressive return to shareholders? Visionary leadership?

According to a new study from Institutional Shareholder Services the real key is simpler: set your own pay. Or better yet, have a friend set it. According to ISS, in companies that have an insider as chairman of the board, CEOs earned a little over $15 million during the past three years. But in companies with an independent outsider as chairman, CEOs made only $11 million.

Did anything else matter? Revenue did: bigger companies pay their CEOs more. But that was it. Shareholder return was insignificant, as were several other variables. Bottom line: if you want a big payday, run a big company and make sure an insider is setting your pay.

THIS IS BIG FOR US.

And we won't beat around the bush: Our fundraising drive to finish our current budget on June 30 and start our new fiscal year on July 1 is lagging behind where we need it to be.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please consider joining your fellow readers with a donation to help make it all possible. Whether you can pitch in $5 or $500, it all matters.

If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

payment methods

THIS IS BIG FOR US.

And we won't beat around the bush: Our fundraising drive to finish our current budget on June 30 and start our new fiscal year on July 1 is lagging behind where we need it to be.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please consider joining your fellow readers with a donation to help make it all possible. Whether you can pitch in $5 or $500, it all matters.

If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate