The List: Ranking New Jersey’s Highest Paid Executives

Colleen O'Dea | July 8, 2019 | The List
New report says state’s average corporate CEO made about $13.4 million in 2018, while the average worker made $58,210

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The average New Jersey corporate chief executive officer received some $13.4 million in compensation last year, while the average worker made $58,210.

That means typical total CEO pay, including bonuses and stock options, was 231 times higher than that of the average worker, according to the annual Executive Paywatch Report released recently by the AFL-CIO.

Each year, the union presents a report on compensation to corporate CEOs to highlight the pay inequity between chief executives and workers. Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer of the union, said this problem has continued for more than two decades.

“For too long, corporate greed and rigged economic rules have created a relentlessly growing pay gap between CEOs and the rest of us,” she said. “It’s why everything from a college education to retirement security to gas prices are getting harder and harder for people to afford. We see it every day in communities across the country. And that must change.”

Nationally, the situation is even more out of balance than in New Jersey. The total compensation for the average CEO of an S&P 500 company last year was $14.5 million, 271 times the typical worker’s take-home pay. Over the last decade, according to the report, CEO pay has risen by an average $500,000 a year, while worker salaries have increased by less than $800 annually.

Shuler said the exorbitant compensation for executives contrasted with stagnant worker pay is a problem nationwide for several reasons.

“Our economy works best when consumers have money to spend,” she said. “That means raising wages for workers and reining in out of control executive pay.”

The AFL-CIO calculates compensation totals using information companies must report in their proxy statements. These include annual pay, bonuses, the value of stock awards and options, the value of non-equity incentives, the increase in pension value and other compensation — personal use of company cars and airplanes, country club memberships, tax reimbursements, insurance plans or payments to savings plans.

Using that formula, the report determined that David Zaslav, head of Discovery, Inc., which owns several cable television channels, was the highest paid CEO of an S&P 500 company. Zaslav’s total compensation for 2018 equaled close to $130 million.

The report listed compensation amounts for 97 CEOS of New Jersey corporations. These are the top 10:

1. John Strangfeld, Prudential Financial, Inc., Newark: $26.7M

That breaks down as $1.3 million in salary, $11 million in stock awards, $3.8 million in option awards, $8.8 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation, a $1.2 million change in pension and deferred compensation earnings, and $525,000 in other compensation. That total was equal to 669 times more than the average American worker’s pay.

2. Kenneth Frazier, Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth: $20.9M

That breaks down as $1.6 million in salary, $9.5 million in stock awards, $3.9 million in option awards, $3 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation and $2.9 million in other compensation. That total compensation was 228 times higher than the median employee’s pay.

3. Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick: $20.1M

That is made up of $1.6 million in salary, $10.3 million in stock awards, $4.3 million in option awards, $3.6 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation and $259,000 in other compensation. That total compensation was 268 times higher than the median worker’s pay.

4. Darius Adamczyk, Honeywell International, Inc., Morris Plains: $19.2M

That breaks down as $1.6 million in salary, $9.6 million in stock awards, $3.2 million in option awards, $4.1 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation, a $595,000 change in pension value and deferred compensation earnings, and $233,000 in other compensation. The total compensation was 288 times higher than the median employee’s pay.

5. Mark Alles, Celgene Corp., Summit: $16.2M

That breaks down as $1.4 million in salary, $6.3 million in stock awards, $5.7 million in option awards, $2.8 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation and $18,000 in other compensation. The total compensation was 62 times higher than the median employee’s pay.

6. Thomas Nimbley, PBF Energy, Inc., Parsippany: $15.8M

That is made up of $1.5 million in salary, a $4 million bonus, $5.2 million in stock awards, $4.3 million in option awards, a $542,000 change in pension value and deferred compensation earnings, and $212,000 in other compensation. The total compensation was 98 times higher than the median employee’s pay.

7. Michael Polk, Newell Brands, Inc., Hoboken: $15.5M

That breaks down as $1.4 million in salary, $12.3 million in stock awards, $1.5 million in non-equity incentive compensation and $329,000 in other compensation. The total compensation was 448 times higher than the median employee’s pay.

8. Vincent Forlenza, Becton, Dickinson & Co., Franklin Lakes: $15M

That breaks down as $1.2 million in salary, $6.7 million in stock awards, $4.4 million in option awards, $2 million in non-equity incentive compensation, a $646,000 change in pension value and deferred compensation earnings, and $38,000 in other compensation. The total compensation was 339 times higher than the median employee’s pay.

9. Steven Temares, Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc., Union: $14.7M

That is made up of $4 million in salary, $8.9 million in stock awards, $1.6 million in option awards and $123,000 in other compensation. The total compensation was 961 times higher than the median employee’s pay.

10. Francisco D’Souza, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., Teaneck: $14M

That breaks down as $750,000 in salary, $12 million in stock awards, $1.3 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation and $29,000 in other compensation. The total compensation was 412 times higher than the median employee’s pay.