Female CEOs saw ranks dwindle in 2020, pay falls

New York: Most of the women running the biggest US companies saw their pay increase last year, even as the pandemic hammered the economy and many of their businesses, the media reported.

Despite those gains, however, the median pay for female chief executives actually fell in 2020. Already a small group, they saw several high-profile women leave their ranks last year. 

That means changes in pay for only a few helped skew the overall figures, highlighting just how slow diversity has been to catch on in Corporate America’s corner offices, reports AP.

Of the 342 CEOs in the AP’s and Equilar’s compensation survey of S&P 500 companies, only 16 were women. That’s down from 20 a year earlier, as CEOs like IBM’s Virginia Rometty left their posts. The survey includes only CEOs who have served at least two full fiscal years at their companies, in order to avoid the distortions of big sign-on bonuses. The companies must have filed proxy statements between Jan. 1 and April 30.

The majority of female CEOs in this year’s survey saw a raise in compensation: 81% of them (13 of 16), versus 60% of all male CEOs in the survey. But Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good saw a nearly 3% decline in compensation to $14.3 million. She’s right in the middle of the pay scale among the survey’s women CEOs, so that helped set the median pay for them last year at $13.6 million. Median means half made more than that level, and half made less.

That level marks a 1.9% drop from the median that those same female CEOs earned a year before. And it compares with a median of $12.6 million for all male CEOs in this year’s survey, which is 5.2% higher than the median for them from a year earlier. The overall median for the survey was $12.7 million.

Lisa Su, CEO of chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices, topped the list with a compensation package worth $27.1 million.

General Motors CEO Mary Bara ranked second among women with a compensation package worth $23.2 million. And Northrop Grumman’s CEO Kathy Warden was third with pay valued at $19.7 million.

Image courtesy of (File photo)

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