A big jump from 2015

By Madeline Farber
April 12, 2017

Women accounted for four of the top 10 highest-paid CEOs in U.S. last year. That’s a big jump over 2015, when just two female chiefs made the cut.

Safra Catz of Oracle (No. 5), Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (No. 6), Ginni Rometty of IBM (No. 8), and Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo (No. 10), all appear on Equilar’s list of the 100 highest-paid executives in 2016, which was released Wednesday.

Each year, the executive compensation firm reveals the best compensated CEOs at the largest U.S. companies by revenue—though the list is limited to companies that have filed annual proxy statements before April 1. The latest study shows that the total comp for these executives increased a median 6% in 2016—the greatest growth seen since 2013, says Equilar. The median pay was a $15 million.

A total of nine female CEOs appear on the Equilar 100 this year, up from eight in 2015. What’s more, these women outpaced the median pay for the list as a whole, dramatically out-earning the men. According to Equilar, median total compensation for the nine women was $21.2 million in 2016, compared to a median $14.4 million for the 92 male CEOs.

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While Safra Catz of Oracle was the highest-paid female CEO, her total compensation took a hit: It dropped to $40.9 million after reaching $53.2 million in 2015. The other top three —Whitman, Rometty, and Nooyi—all saw their compensation increase. Whitman’s comp reached $32.9 million, up from $17.1 million in 2015—representing a massive 93% pay increase. Rometty also saw an uptick, earning $32.3 million in 2016 from $19.8 million the previous year. Nooyi, too, got a bump: Her compensation was $25.1 million, about a $3 million gain over 2015.

Though these women may be making a name for themselves on Equilar’s list, the number of female CEOs is still lagging—especially at some of the world’s biggest companies. For example, the number of female CEOs on the most recent Fortune 500 list dropped to 21 in 2016, down from 23 the year before.

You can check out Equilar’s full 2016 list here.

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