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These are America’s 10 most overpaid CEOs

FILE PHOTO: Google CEO Pichai speaks at El Centro College in Dallas
$267 million too much.
  • Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Senior reporter based in New York City


Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, was paid $280 million in 2019. That is 1,085 times the compensation of the average Alphabet employee (about $258,000) and—according to an analysis published on Feb. 24 by As you Sow, a shareholder advocacy organization—way too much.

Pichai, whom As You Sow claims was overpaid by nearly $268 million, topped the group’s annual list of the most overpaid CEOs of companies in the S&P 500. As You Sow,  based in Berkeley, California, hopes to leverage the power of shareholders to direct companies toward corporate social responsibility and environmentally sustainable actions.

As You Sow assesses CEO pay based on a series of parameters, including the ratio between CEO compensation and the median worker’s, the percentage of shareholders that voted in favor or against the CEO compensation package, and whether proxy advisors (companies that advise institutional shareholders on how to vote) were in favor of the compensation or not. The study looked at ay packages that were approved by boards through June 30, 2020, so some CEOs on the list no longer hold that position.

The analysis also looks at what the pay should be in relation to the total shareholder revenue and overall performance, and tallies up to see how it compares with current pay.

According to the analysis, fair pay for the top 10 most overpaid CEOs would be between $12 and $18 million. Data on the next 90 can be found here.

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