CIO Compensation: Top Information Technology Executives Make Millions of Dollars

Financial services, retail sectors well represented among top-paid IT executives at public companies. Take a peek at CIO salaries, bonuses and incentive pay of IT leaders at Fortune 1000 companies.

That fabled seat at the table that CIOs so crave comes with extra responsibility and pressure. And lots of money.


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Every year, public companies must file proxy statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission, to show what their top five highest- paid executives make in salary, bonuses and incentive pay such as stock and options awards. We took a look at the latest proxies filed by the 1,000 biggest U.S. companies to find out what compensation looks like these days for those elite CIOs ranked and rewarded highly enough at their companies to be included in the circle of five.

What we found is that although relatively few CIOs are included—just 52 among the Fortune 1000—the ones who made it have made it big. Collectively, the 52 were paid $137 million in 2006, the latest year for which complete proxy data is available.

The top 10 in that group together made $65 million. That’ll buy a few BMWs.

However, these people are much more than CIOs.

Jeff Fox, number one on the list at $9 million, leads operations and shared services at telecom company Alltel. A former investment banker, Fox has a long tenure at Alltel—since 1996

Five of the top 10 are in financial services, including the only woman in the group, the recently retired Jean Davis, senior executive vice president for e-commerce and operations at Wachovia.

Eight of the top 10 are accountable for operations, customer service or other senior-level responsibilities. Bob Willett, CIO at Best Buy for example, is also CEO of the retailer’s international business, earning $8.6 million. Willett also won a CIO 100 award this year for a business intelligence project that analyzes customer purchases. Joe Antonellis, who was CIO of State Street since 2002, is now vice chairman, earning $6.3 million. Antonellis recently hired a CIO to work for him, as we reported this month.

And according to our own “State of the CIO 2008” survey, along with pay, CIO influence is also rising. Each year, we poll hundreds of top technology leaders on a range of issues related to how they do their jobs. In fact, more CIOs—41 percent—report to the CEO than to any other position, our survey shows. We’ll publish our full analysis on Dec. 15, but between now and then we’ll bring you excerpts of the findings and conversations with IT leaders grappling with tough issues. (See our Q&A with Nielsen’s Mitchell Habib on leading change, outsourcing and “The Art of War.”)

From the SEC data, however, we created a chart that breaks down total compensation by salary, bonus and other pay awards, for the CIO millionaires--all 39 of them. Check it out. See how the other half lives.

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