Many workers would be happy with a 4.9% raise. But for CFOs in 2014, it represented a lower increase than they saw the previous year. CEO compensation also slowed considerably in 2014, according to a survey from BDO.
The BDO 600 CEO and CFO Pay Study found that average total CEO compensation ($3.06 million) grew by only 0.7% compared with 12.6% in 2013. CFOs fared slightly better, as average compensation increased 4.9% to $1.22 million, but that was still down from 2013’s 8.2% increase.
“There is clearly a sense of cautious optimism when it comes to the economy given its skittish performance, swinging between extreme peaks and valleys,” Randy Ramirez, a senior director in the global employer practice at BDO, said in a news release. “Because of this, CEO and CFO compensation is rising at a more measured pace when compared [with 2013].”
The bigger growth in CFO pay, he said, may reflect “the increased responsibility placed on CFOs to leverage market momentum in order to realize a company’s financial vision.”
Executives at companies in the smallest revenue group ($25 million to $325 million) suffered declines in average pay, with CEOs down 32% at $1.93 million and CFOs down 22% at $785,005.
“Companies in this revenue range experienced the largest growth in underlying equity since 2003, creating a number of opportunities for CFOs (and other key employees) to exit equity holdings,” BDO noted.
The highest-paid CEOs and CFOs are now those within the real estate industry, which has benefited from a stable economy and low interest rates. Average pay was $4.5 million for real estate chief executives and $1.82 million for finance chiefs.
The energy industry, which had the highest executive pay in 2013, took a tumble last year, with CEO compensation falling 23% to $3.94 million and CFO pay falling 12% to $1.58 million.