Human Capital & Careers

U.S. Finance Chiefs Top Pay List

American CFOs are paid much more than their counterparts in other countries, but CFO pay and responsibilities are on the rise around the globe.
David KatzMarch 29, 2006

U.S. finance chiefs take in an average of nearly $325,000 in total cash compensation a year, or more than five times the amount heir counterparts in India earn, according to new research by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

Finance directors in Canada and the United Kingdom averaged $263,000 and $237,000, trailing their U.S. peers at the top of Mercer’s findings of executive pay in 14 countries. In its survey of 11,600 companies, the consultancy defines annual total cash compensation as yearly base salary plus guaranteed cash plus the short-term incentive amount taken in a given year.

At the bottom of the list, finance directors in India and Hungary make about $64,000 and $77,000 a year, respectively. Mercer defines finance directors as executives who put together strategies, policies, and procedures involving sales, costs, taxes, assets, budgets, credit, and cash flow.

The elevation and broadening of the finance chief’s role in the United States over the last decade or so has apparently taken hold overseas. “In many organizations, finance directors are the second highest paid individuals, receiving only slightly less than the CEO. The scope of their role has widened in recent years as new regulatory burdens and risk management responsibilities make them increasingly accountable for company governance,” said Mark Edelsten, a London-based Mercer consultant.

The consulting firm also released pay data on marketing and human-resource directors. Annual total cash payout for marketing heads ranged between $261,000 in the United States and $47,000 in India. In the number two and three slots were the United Kingdom, with $217,000 and Italy, with $201,000. “The high levels of pay for marketing directors in some countries reflect the fact that marketing and brand management are now considered key to enhancing company performance,” Edelsten said.

HR directors were the lowest paid of the three positions covered. In terms of annual total cash, HR heads in Germany averaged about $227,000, edging out those in United States, with $219,000, and the United Kingdom, with $202,000. In Hungary and India, the pay was again the worst, with personnel chiefs earning $72,000 and $56,000, respectively.

Yearly Pay for Finance Directors
Company Annual base salary
(US$)
Annual total cash
(US$)
United States 250,000 324,621
Canada 186,440 262,711
United Kingdom 180,250 236,607
Hong Kong 168,500 212,041
Italy 159,005 197,508
Germany 154,375 202,281
France 148,275 179,542
Australia 146,422 175,738
Brazil 140,527 205,695
Spain 132,821 146,410
Singapore 125,783 162,931
Poland 108,209 127,968
Hungary 59,763 77,488
India 53,774 63,806
Source: Mercer Human Resource Consulting