Aug 31, 2023 - Business

Analysis: Here’s how much Charlotte-area CEOs made in 2022

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Photo: Andy Weber/Axios

The CEOs of most of the largest public companies in the Charlotte region saw their pay jump from 2021-2022.

What’s happening: We analyzed the pay of the chief executive officers of the 20 largest publicly traded companies in the area based on proxy filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • The local companies we looked at included nine on the 2023 Fortune 500 list.
  • Overall, pay for 14 of the leaders increased from 2021, the filings show. Pay declined for four. Two CEOs on the list were new to the job in 2022.

Why it matters: Although CEO pay on average declined nationwide in 2022, pay for local companies’ top executives remains sky-high, especially compared to the typical worker’s pay. CEO pay is often tied to the stock performance of a company, so the better a company’s investor returns, the more the CEO gets paid.

By the numbers: The area’s highest-paid CEO last year was Vicente Reynal of Ingersoll-Rand, who made $54.5 million, up from $11.4 million in 2021. The vast majority of his 2022 compensation came in the form of stock awards.

  • Ingersoll-Rand, a manufacturer of pumps, compressors and other equipment, is based in Davidson.
  • Last year, the Ingersoll-Rand board negotiated a five-year employment agreement with Reynal, with added performance-based incentives designed to encourage him to stay until 2031, CBJ reported. “During his tenure, the company has experienced significant stockholder value creation,” the board wrote in a securities filing, per CBJ.
  • An Ingersoll-Rand spokesperson declined to comment on Reynal’s compensation.

The next highest paid: Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, who made $30 million, up from $23.7 million — also mostly in the form of stock.

Zoom out: S&P 500 CEOs made $16.7 million on average in 2022, 272 times the pay of their median workers, Reuters reported earlier this month, citing the annual “Executive Paywatch” study released by the AFL-CIO. That’s down from $18.3 million and 324 times median worker earnings in 2021.

Pay disparity: Companies are also required to disclose the ratio of the CEO’s pay to that of the median employee.

  • Brighthouse Financial had the smallest gap, at a ratio of 67:1. The salary of its median employee is $145,871.
  • Ingersoll-Rand had the largest gap between the CEO and median employee pay, at a ratio of 837:1. The salary of its median employee is $65,098.

What they’re saying: “This is an impossible level of compensation for an individual person to receive in just one year,” said study author Brandon Rees, the labor federation’s deputy director of corporations and capital markets, per Reuters.

The other side: Those who defend increasing CEO pay point to the chief executives’ ability to drive financial success for the company — and the need to reward them for their performance.

  • For instance, Ingersoll-Rand’s board wrote that the CEO’s new employment agreement was necessary “to continue to drive this track record of financial outperformance and retain him as the company’s CEO for the foreseeable future.

Of note: Many of the largest employers in the area are privately held, so it’s hard to know how much their top executives make.

  • For instance, Red Ventures founder and CEO Ric Elias is a billionaire who’s vowed to eventually give away half his wealth. But because Red Ventures is private, his compensation isn’t publicly available.



Data:SEC filings; Chart: Tory Lysik;Axios Visuals

[Related: See the highest-paid CEOs in Raleigh and Durham in 2022]

Between the lines: Of the 20 CEOs whose pay we analyzed, only two are women: Lynn Good (Duke Energ) and Lynn Bamford (Curtiss-Wright).

What the rest made in 2022: Charles Treadway (CommScope) — $10.6 million; Ted Doheny (Sealed Air) — $10.4 million; Eric Steigerwalt (Brighthouse Financial) — $9.8 million; Michael Alkire (Premier) — $7.9 million; David Smith (Sonic Automotive) — $7.6 million; Simon Campion (Dentsply Sirona) — $7.6 million; Michael Praeger (AvidXchange) — $7.2 million; Gene Lowe (SPX) — $6.6 million; William Christensen (Jeld-Wen) — $5 million; Lynn Bamford (Curtiss-Wright) — $4.5 million; John Cato (Cato) — $3.2 million

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