May 22, 2024 - News

Six Seattle CEOs rank among the nation's highest-paid

Illustration of a small dollar sign magnified by a monocle.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Seattle is home to at least six of the highest-paid CEOs in the U.S.

Why it matters: Amid layoffs at T-Mobile last year and a slew of federal investigations into safety lapses at Boeing, CEOs at both companies ranked among the area's top-paid executives in 2023, per an analysis by the Wall Street Journal.

What they did: The Wall Street Journal used information from corporate proxy statements filed through May 16 last year by companies in the S&P 500 index, as collected by MyLogIQ, a provider of public company data and analysis.

  • Pay reflects the value of equity awards as reported by companies at grant, per the Journal.

Zoom in: CEO Mike Sievert of Bellevue-based T-Mobile is our highest-ranked executive in 16th place.

  • He made more than $37 million in total pay last year, including $8.1 million in cash compensation, or — according to Salary.com — 521 times the wireless carrier company's $72,000 median salary.
  • Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun — who will step down at the end of this year — came in 26th out of 415 ranked executives. He earned nearly $33 million, with $1.4 million in cash last year, an increase of 46% over 2022 despite a deepening crisis over the aviation manufacturer's safety record.
  • Craig Jelinek of Issaquah-based Costco, routinely named one of the country's best places to work, ranked 182nd, amassing $17 million in total compensation with $1.5 million in cash.

Plus: Among the area's other high earners are Devin Stockfish of Weyerhaeuser (total compensation package of $13 million), Andrew Jassy of Amazon ($1.4 million) and Peter Kern of Expedia ($1 million).

The intrigue: Jassy and Kern have dropped down the list since 2021, when they were among the highest-paid S&P 500 CEOs, due primarily to drops in stock rewards for both.

Yes, but: Executive compensation doesn't necessarily capture overall wealth, per a March WSJ report that listed Elon Musk as the second-richest person in the world behind former Seattle resident Jeff Bezos.

  • Musk is in last place among WSJ's list of CEO compensation, with compensation from Tesla reported at $0.

Zoom out: Half of the executives in the analysis made at least $15.7 million, a record for the annual survey, per the Journal.

  • That's up from a median S&P 500 CEO pay of $14.5 million a year earlier.
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