Elon Musk, the space and electric-car titan, was the highest-paid executive in the U.S. for 2019 with $595.3 million, significantly more than No.2 Apple CEO Tim Cook hauled in, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index.
The vast sum comes thanks to the pay deal he scored a couple of years ago: A promise of tens of billions of dollars if Tesla became one of the world’s most valuable firms.
Rightly or wrongly, Wall Street CEOs are still excoriated as greedy fat cats who exemplify everything that’s wrong with executive pay.
But look around corporate America these days, and you’ll find any number of executives, particularly in tech, taking home far more than those bankers ever made — even during the boom years before the financial crisis — without a fraction of the scrutiny or the outrage.
Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook ranks second, the index shows, mostly thanks to an equity grant he got in 2011. Tom Rutledge, the CEO of Charter Communications Inc., is third. Only one person from finance—Blackstone Group Inc. Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Gray—makes the top 10, with $107.6 million.
By contrast, the top-paid bank CEO was Wells Fargo & Co.’s Charlie Scharf, whose 2019 package was worth $55.2 million by the end of the year, according to the index.
Four of the top 10 on the Bloomberg Pay Index are tech executives: Cook, Alphabet Inc.’s Sundar Pichai, Microsoft Corp.’s Satya Nadella and Robert Swan of Intel Corp. (Cook has said he will donate most of his money to charity.)
MacDailyNews Take: To give some additional perspective on the level of out-of-whackness: $133.7 million per year works out to $64,278.85 per hour. $595.3 million per year is $286,201.92 per hour. A U.S. Senator is paid $174,000 per year (not counting kickbacks and other assorted graft). The average earned by a plumber in California per year is almost exactly what Tim Cook made in the last hour. Said plumber will have to work for 4.5 years to make what Elon Musk made in the last hour.