The number of female CEOs in the United States declined in 2020; the median wage has fallen by 2%

NEW YORK: Most women at the head of America’s biggest companies saw their wages increase in the past year, even as the pandemic has hammered the economy and many of their businesses.

Despite these gains, however, the median salary of female entrepreneurs actually fell in 2020. Already a small group, they saw several high-profile women leave their ranks last year. This means that salary changes for only a few helped skew the overall numbers, underscoring how slow diversity has been to take hold in Corporate America’s corner offices.

Of the 342 CEOs in AP and Equilar’s compensation survey of S&P 500 companies, only 16 were women. That’s down from 20 a year earlier when CEOs like Virginia Rometty of IBM left their positions. The survey only includes CEOs who have served at least two full fiscal years in their company, in order to avoid the distortions of large connection bonuses. Companies must have filed proxies between January 1 and April 30.

The majority of female CEOs in this year’s survey saw their pay increase: 81% of them (13 out of 16), compared to 60% of all male CEOs in the survey. But Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good saw his compensation drop nearly 3% to $ 14.3 million. She sits right in the middle of the salary scale among female CEOs in the survey, which put the median salary for them last year at $ 13.6 million. The median means that half did more than this level, and half did less.

That level marks a 1.9% drop from the median these same female CEOs earned a year earlier. And that compares to a median of $ 12.6 million for all male CEOs in this year’s survey, which is 5.2 percent higher than the median for them from a year earlier. The overall median for the survey was $ 12.7 million.

While the number of women in the survey fell last year, experts say the change is happening, very slowly, as companies have failed to properly recognize and prepare more women for this role.

“It’s a slow process,” said Lorraine Hariton, president and CEO of Catalyst, a nonprofit that aims to advance women in the workplace. “But the reasons are that we are still dealing with cultures steeped in unconscious biases and creating a pipeline of female CEOs takes time.”

Lisa Su, CEO of chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices, tops the list with a salary of $ 27.1 million. This included a base salary of just over $ 1 million, a cash bonus worth $ 2.5 million, and stock and option awards worth nearly $ 10 million. $ 23.5 million. AMD’s stock nearly doubled in 2020 after being the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 for the previous two years.

A year ago, Su was the highest paid CEO in Equilar analysis male or female with a salary of $ 58.5 million, largely thanks to grants worth $ 53.2 million. of dollars.

General Motors CEO Mary Bara ranked second among women with a total compensation of $ 23.2 million. And Northrop Grumman CEO Kathy Warden finished third with a salary valued at $ 19.7 million.

Overall, many CEOs cut their salaries last year due to the pandemic, but got more shares and other compensation. Compensation for female CEOs has largely followed a similar pattern, but due to the small sample size, it is difficult to draw conclusions as a single minor adjustment can skew the results.

There are some signs of change, with more women in senior management. JPMorgan Chase recently placed two women in roles where they could potentially succeed CEO Jamie Dimon. And executive search firms say they are seeing increased interest from companies, especially as research shows that having a more diverse company leads to better results.

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