50% of Europe’s top-paid CEOs are in the UK

Pay rise-2015Half (50%) of Europe’s top 10 highest paid chief executive officers (CEOs) are based in the UK, according to research by the Executive Remuneration Centre at the Vlerick Business School.

The study is based on the remuneration packages of the UK’s FTSE 100 and all listed organisations in Germany, France, Belgium and The Netherlands, with 669 listed firms’ remuneration reports examined. The research also found that total remuneration for UK-based CEO’s increased by a quarter (25%) between 2013 and 2014.

The research also found:

  • CEO pay in the Netherlands grew by 28%, CEO pay remained static in Germany, and French CEO pay fell by 9%.
  • Over the last two years, 63% of the UK organisations have increased total CEO remuneration.
  • UK CEOs were paid a salary of £1.35m in 2014, compared to €1.32m in Germany and €1.15m in the Netherlands, followed by €1m in Belgium and €940,000 in France.
  • Long and short-term incentives made up around three-quarters (74%) of UK CEO’s total remuneration, compared to 61% in Germany, 50% in the Netherlands, 36% in Belgium and 34% in France.
  • In the UK, the number of firms offering share-based remuneration fell from 86% in 2013 to 75% in 2014.
  • In continental Europe, 23% of organisations offered share-based remuneration, which compares to 45% in 2007.

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Xavier Baeten, professor of reward management at Vlerick Business School, said: “It’s clear from this research that the debate over how CEOs are remunerated is still extremely relevant.

“The UK has regained the top spot from Germany confirming the fact that the Anglo-Saxon corporate governance model, which is characterised by more dispersed share ownership, provides CEOs with more power in relation to the board, and leads to higher compensation levels.”