Corporate CEOs are making more money than you might think, according to an analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission filings by Axios.
Publicly-available compensation data often fails to include the gains executives earn when they cash in shares in their company, and a soaring stock market in 2017 meant those gains were often substantial.
Including those gains, CEOs at S&P 500 companies earned $10 billion last year – 44 percent higher than the figure typically reported, according to the Axios analysis. Using the adjusted data, Reed Hastings of Netflix comes in as the CEO with the largest compensation -- $178 million, compared to the more commonly reported $24 million.
Health care CEOs did even better cashing in their shares than the group as a whole, earning 74 percent more than typically reported – for a total of $1.7 billion. Leading the pack was Neal Patterson of the health information technology firm Cerner, who took home $148 million dollars once stock gains were figured in, compared to an estimated compensation package of roughly $4 million. His compensation comes with a big asterisk, though: Patterson died in 2017, which resulted in his stock options vesting immediately.