Our study of SEC filings identifies the 10 most highly paid CIOs listed in 2011 proxy statements for Fortune 1000 companies. In addition to annual salaries, these elite CIOs get multi-million-dollar pay packages that rise or fall depending on whether the company hits its financial targets.
By Kim S. Nash
Among the 1,000 biggest public companies in the United States, 45 CIOs were rewarded highly enough last year to be included in the proxy statements required by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which explain how the top five company executives are paid.
Compensation for this elite 45 is a complex formula of fixed pieces, such as salary and perquisites, and variable pieces made up of cash, stock and options. To get them, executives have to achieve the financial goals the board specifies.
The motivation? Variable pay can account for 70 percent to 80 percent of a CIO’s compensation.
The pay packages of CIOs and other executives can fluctuate 40 percent year-to-year, according to our analysis of the proxy statements. In other words, CIOs can do everything right, but larger economic forces or fundamental company problems can still mean they watch potential pay slip away.
The infographic below (you can download the PDF) identifies the 10 most highly paid CIOs among those listed in 2011 proxy statements for Fortune 1000 companies. The chart clearly shows how the performance-based portion of a CIO’s pay package can be much bigger than the annual salary.