Indra Nooyi, World’s Highest Paid Female CEO: Women CEOs Out-Earn Men

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Divya Nayak
Computer Science Engineer and a wee-hour-writer. An ardent reader and if books were in bribe, might turn corrupt.

Although there are comparatively very few women, breaking the persistent-stigma around female leadership, are now out-earning men. A recent analysis by Equilar, an executive data firm, showcased the scenario where, in the most rarefied helms, women CEO out-earned their male counterparts. The latest list of highest-paid female CEOs highlights the changing equations in the leadership scenario, especially at the biggest publicly traded companies.

The annual Equilar/Associated Press CEO Pay Study steered clear for the year 2017, found that although the male CEOs procure a median compensation of $11,376,284, the female CEOs managed to shoot ahead of them, with a median compensation of $13,093,444. In addition to these basic cues, the average for female CEOs was $14,488,643 while male CEOs had an average of $12,648,010.

According to the report, the highest-paid female CEO is Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo (PEP:NASDAQ), whose compensation was $25.9 million in 2017. The second to top the list was Debra Cafaro, CEO of real estate investment trust Ventas (VTR:NASDAQ) at $25.3 million. Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors (GM:NASDAQ), ended up at the third place with $21.9 million.


highest paid female CEOS 2017

The study, subsuming S&P 500 companies, filed a proxy statement for FY-2016; The key intention being a close scrutiny of the median and average compensation of CEOs. This was liable for CEOs who were in full swing for two, consecutive fiscal years and worked in the same position.

Analyzing the full S&P 500, it can be noted that there is a significant rise in the number of female CEOs; 27 female CEOs towards the end of 2017, up from 24 at the end of 2016.

Highest Paid Female CEOs: The Key Findings

  • There is a significant increase of 8.5% in the Median total compensation for the CEOs from the prior year. This amounts to a total of $11.5 million.
  • The highest median pay packages in this year’s study were represented by Industrial goods company at $13.2 million.
  • The healthcare sector had the second-highest median CEO pay package at $12.9 million.
  • Utilities CEOs wrapped up the lowest of the industry sections in the study, with a median of $9.7 million.
  • New York CEOs received the highest median pay package
  • The top states with the highest number of CEOs in the study were California with 40, Texas with 33, Illinois with 24, Massachusetts with 15 CEOs.

On a quite down-crying note, Pew Research Center study found that considering Standard and Poor’s Composite 1500, women held only about 10 percent of top executive positions at publicly traded companies. Moreover, these women are less likely to be leading any finance or legal positions, abreast the CEO strata.

A Stagnant Gender Pay Gap:

Despite decades of equal-pay measure, women still earn a lot less than men. Again, there’s a lot of stigma revolving around women leadership as well. Why?

To cite an instance, consider the highest paid male CEO and the highest paid female CEO on Equilar’s list. Thomas Rutledge of Charter Communications with total compensation of nearly $99 million and Virginia Rometty of IBM, with compensation just a little over $32 million.


Pretty much evident from the instance above and the shockingly meagre number of women CEOs in the S&P 500, it’s quite conclusive that, rising to the top of the ranks as a woman is not a cakewalk. And in case one makes it through, getting the fair-share is a lot more difficult.

Given the stagnant pay for women, there’s no doubt that bias can seep in any time. The performance evaluations aren’t to the same degree and there’s less canniness in the payset. As hard-won as it gets, the process for determination of the CEO is not a standardized process.

According to a report by Economist, the median wage of a woman working full-time is 85% that of a man. But baring the truth, one finds it uncomprehending, given the fact that employers pay a woman less than a man. There are claims that women earn 98% as much as men doing the same job for the same employer.

Again, 2016 Lean In/McKinsey & Company survey, one-third of respondents, labelled women who negotiated for promotion as bossy or intimidating. This survey, encompassing about 34,000 employees, reveals the blunt truth of diminishing gender equity ethics around pay transparency.

A Gentle Deviation: Women CEO more in Non-profit Organisations

A separate study reveals that, although there are relatively few Women CEOs in all Industries, standing out as an exception is the Non-profit World. That’s according to a study from GuideStar, a research firm that focuses on nonprofits.

  • In the year 2015, women made up 57% of the CEOs of nonprofits with an annual budget of less than $250,000.
  •  They also made it big with 57% of the CEOs of nonprofits worth between $250,000 and $500,000 in 2015
  • 22% of women were the CEOs in 2015 for companies worth more than $50 million.


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