Ad Age Salary Survey: Average CEO $14.4 million; Average Worker $37,000

The average american worker last year made about $37,000, just 1.7% gain over the previous year, while the average CEO made $14.4 million in pay, up 51% from 2004, according to Advertising Age's annual salary review. More than half the compensation of executives came from exercising options granted in earlier years. The average exec on the list snared options to buy 288,234 shares, exercisable in coming years; if stocks keep climbing, that could mean millions more in pay down the road.
  • Options awarded in earlier years and exercised last year accounted for 57% of compensation for executives on this list. 
  • Other long-term incentives, such as restricted stock grants, accounted for 16% of the typical pay package.  
  • Bonuses were about 15%.  
  • Salaries were just 8% of the average CEO's total compensation.
  • Base salaries were an average of $1.2 million, up 6.5%. By comparison, median pay for full-time American workers last year was $36,979, up just 1.7%, according to Census Bureau data.

Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs made $1 in fiscal '05. (his restricted shares were worth $532 million.) IAC/InterActiveCorp Chairman-CEO Barry Diller was no.1 with a package worth $295 million at IAC -- and another $175 million from spinoff Expedia. The other triple-digit million players were Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank; Yahoo CEO Terry Semel; Dell Chairman Michael Dell; and Cendent chairman Henry Silverman.

Related Resources at AdAge: Top 25 Highest-Paid Executives (pdf); Chart: Salary as Percentage of Total Compensation (pdf)

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