Corporate Counsel Magazine's annual salary survey of the 100 highest paid General Counsels at major corporations. The survey, which appears each year in the August issue, includes the name, rank, salary, bonus, and non-equity incentive compensation.
Public companies must disclose the compensation packages for their CEOs and their four other highest-paid executives in the annual proxy statements they file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. General Counsel are frequently among the highest-paid executives whose pay packages must be disclosed.
Corporate Counsel magazine combs through Fortune 500 companies’ proxies in order to compile the list. They then rank the 100 best-paid according to cash compensation, which includes salary, bonus and non-equity incentive compensation (a column added four years ago on the proxy statement in which companies record bonuses for hitting performance targets). Cash-outs include stock value realized as well as options exercised in our “Stock” column in an effort to paint a more complete picture of equity compensation.
Data in the spreadsheet also includes stock, option and cash-out awards.
This compensation is not exhaustive. Some well-paid top legal officers do not make the list simply because the five highest-paid executives earn more than the GC. Others don't make the list because their company filed its proxy statement after May 31, and Corporate Counsel couldn't research it because of their publishing deadline. Businesses in bankruptcy or that have merged in the past year may not file proxies. And Fortune 500 corporations that are not publicly traded, such as insurance companies, don't file proxy statements with the SEC.
Several new SEC rules were enacted between the 2006 and 2007 reports – there was a change in how bonuses are reported, in order to achieve more transparency Bonuses not tied to performance goals go in the traditional bonus column. For our chart and rankings, we've combined both types of bonuses in one column labeled "Bonus/Nonequity Incentive Compensation." We also note restricted stock grants, option grants, and cash-outs for the top 100.
Data from additional years may be available in our archives. Please contact customer service for more information. 888-770-5647