The List: New Jersey’s 10 Highest-Paid Chief Executives

Colleen O'Dea | April 21, 2014 | The List
Warning: Comparing your pay to the compensation packages on this list may cause a host of unpleasant physical and psychological conditions.

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New York City is known for Wall Street and office buildings, but New Jersey has its share of corporate headquarters, as well. Two of the state’s CEOs are among the 100 highest-paid chief executive officers in the nation.

The AFL-CIO brought the issue of executive pay to light last week in posting a new site, It highlights the huge disparity between what the average worker makes and what the average CEO gets in total compensation.

Total compensation was calculated by using data from corporate proxy statements, and includes salary, bonuses, stock and option awards, non-equity incentive plans, change in pension plans, and earnings on nonqualified deferred compensation plans and such perquisites as the use of company cars and planes, country club memberships, and tax reimbursements.

In New Jersey , the typical CEO compensation totaled $5.7 million and was 121 times greater than the average worker’s salary of $46,825, according to the data.

Here, according to, are the highest paid CEOs at New Jersey-based companies:

1. $26 million, David M. Cote. head of Honeywell International, Inc.

To be exact, Cote’s compensation last year was $25,973,246. His salary was a relatively meager $1.8 million, but Cote also received a $5.2 million bonus, almost $8.9 million in option awards, more than $9 million from nonequity incentive plans and $535,000 in other compensation. The value of his pension and deferred compensation earnings rose by $532,000. Morristown-based Honeywell makes a number of commercial and consumer products and provides engineering services and aerospace systems. The company ranked 78th on last year’s Fortune 500 list, fourth among New Jersey-based businesses. Cote was the 37th highest paid CEO in the nation.

2. $24 million, Richard A. Smith, the man in charge of Realogy Holdings Corp.

Most of Smith’s pay — $20.2 million — was in a nonequity incentive plan. He got a $1 million salary, $100,000 bonus, $2.7 million in stock awards and $2,000 in other compensation. Realogy, in Madison, is the parent company of Century 21, ERA, Coldwell Bank and Sotheby’s International Realty. Smith’s total compensation ranked him 47th in the nation.

3. $17.2 million, Jane T. Elfers, CEO, Children’s Place Retail Stores

The best compensated female CEO in New Jersey, and the only woman among the 10 highest-paid state executives. In 2012, Elfers got $17.2 million in compensation. The lion’s share was $14.8 million in stock awards. Elfers’ salary was nearly $1.1 million and she got $1.2 million in non-equity incentive compensation and $137,000 in other compensation, from the Secaucus-based company.

4. $16.9 million, Alex Gorsky, chairman, Johnson & Johnson

Gorsky got $16.9 million in total compensation last year. The largest part was nearly $6 million in stock awards. In addition to a $1.5 million salary, Gorsky got $2.7 million in option awards, $4.9 million in nonequity incentive compensation, and $192,000 in other compensation. His pension value and deferred compensation earnings rose $1.7 million. Johnson & Johnson, a pharmaceuticals giant based in New Brunswick, is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and ranked 41st on the Fortune 500 list last year.

5. $16.7 million, John R. Strangfeld, chief exec, Prudential Financial

While Fortune ranked Prudential Financial highest among New Jersey-based companies, at number 29, Strangfeld’s compensation trailed four other CEOs. His compensation last year included a $1.4 million salary, $5.5 million bonus, $3.4 million each in stock and option awards, and a $3 million nonequity incentive plan. Prudential Financial’s subsidiaries provide insurance, investment management, and other financial products.

6. $16.2 million, John D. Finnegan, CEO, Chubb

More than half of Finnegan’s compensation, $9.7 million, was in stock awards, while another $4.3 million was in nonequity incentive compensation. Finnegan’s salary was $1.3 million and he got $306,000 in other compensation. The value of his pension and deferred compensation earnings rose by $598,000. Chubb, the Warren-based insurance firm, ranked 202nd on the Fortune 500 last year, the sixth-highest rank of New Jersey companies.

7. $16 million, Steven H. Temares, head of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.

Temares’ compensation was slightly less in 2012. He had a much larger salary — $3.5 million — than the more highly paid Jersey CEOs. Temares also got $6 million in stock awards and $5.7 million in option awards. The value of his pension and deferred compensation earnings rose by $684,000. The Union-based retailer, Bed Bath & Beyond, was the 10th-highest New Jersey company in the Fortune 500, ranking 285th nationally.

8. $15.5 million, Kenneth C. Frazier, CEO, Merck & Co. Inc.

The greatest share of Frazier’s earnings was a $4.3 million increase in his pension value and deferred compensation earnings. He received a $1.5 million salary, $3.3 million in stock awards, $3.8 million in option awards, and $2.5 million in nonequity incentive compensation. One of the largest pharmaceuticals companies in the world, Merck, which is currently based in Whitehouse Station, was the third-highest ranked New Jersey company of the Fortune 500, number 58 overall, last year.

9. $14.5 million Mark P. Frissora. chairman, Hertz Global Holdings Inc.

Close to half of Frissora’s compensation was the value of his stock awards: $6.5 million. Frissora got $1.3 million in salary, $4.2 million in nonequity incentive compensation, and $592,000 in other compensation. The value of his pension and deferred compensation earnings rose by nearly $2 million. The Park Ridge vehicle and equipment rental and leasing company ranked at number 293 on the Fortune 500 list, 11th of Jersey-based companies.

10. $13 million, Stephen H. Rusckowski, CEO, Quest Diagnostics Inc.

Rusckowski had the smallest salary of the 10 best-compensated CEOs — $682,500. More than half of his compensation was in stock awards, valued at $7.3 million. Rusckowski also got a $500,000 bonus, $2.7 million in option awards, $1.4 million in nonequity incentive compensation, and $479,000 in other compensation. Quest, a clinical laboratory services company based in Madison, was the 16th-ranked New Jersey company on the Fortune 500 and number 341 overall.