Highest-Paid Women in America Reap Rewards of Technology Boom

America’s highest-paid female executives lead IBM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Oracle


May 11, 2017

3 Min Read
Highest-Paid Women in America Reap Rewards of Technology Boom
Chairwoman and CEO of IBM Ginni Rometty speaks onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit in 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for FORTUNE)

(Bloomberg) -- Ginni Rometty, Meg Whitman and Safra Catz have been trailblazers in the technology industry, and now they’re America’s highest-paid female executives.

Rometty, 59, the chief executive officer of International Business Machines Corp., was awarded a $96.8 million package for last year, making her the top-ranked woman on the Bloomberg Pay Index, a ranking of the 200 best-compensated executives at companies that submit details to U.S. regulators. That puts her at No. 6 on the list, after five men, and marks the first time a woman has cracked the Top 10 since the index was created in 2015.

Whitman, 60, the CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., is No. 2 with $52.5 million in her first year leading the maker of corporate software and hardware, following its split from parent Hewlett-Packard Co. Her package includes stock options and restricted shares linked to performance. Companies often grant big equity awards to executives in their first year on the job.

See also: The Data Center Industry Has a Problem: Too Many Men

Catz, 55, who was the top-paid female executive for 2015 after she was promoted to co-CEO of Oracle Corp., is third with $39.2 million. Her compensation fell since the board scaled back executive awards following years of shareholder complaints, and she didn’t get an annual bonus after Oracle’s profit slid.

Fourteen women made the list for 2016 pay, compared with 17 a year earlier. The index values equity awards at each company’s fiscal year-end. Compensation figures can therefore differ from those disclosed in regulatory filings, in some cases by a lot, depending on stock-price moves and dividend payouts.

Those at the top of the ranking benefited as tech stocks were among the best performers in the U.S. last year. The S&P 500 Technology Hardware and Equipment Index climbed 15 percent, outpacing the 9.5 percent advance for the broader benchmark, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index logged its fifth straight year of gains.

Rometty’s awards include a one-time grant of premium-priced stock options that surged in value after IBM shares rallied 21 percent in 2016.

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo! Inc.’s outgoing CEO, took fourth with $32.8 million for the year she orchestrated a sale of the firm to Verizon Communications Inc. The board withheld her 2016 bonus after it was revealed that hacks of the web portal had exposed hundreds of millions of users’ personal information. Part of her pay comes in stock that’s linked to performance. Mayer, 41, will step down from the board when the deal is completed.

Phebe Novakovic, 59, who’s led General Dynamics Corp. since 2013, was fifth with $30.6 million in awarded compensation. The value of her options and stock grants, some of which are linked to performance targets set by the maker of Abrams tanks and nuclear submarines, jumped along with defense stocks in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.

The top-ranked executives or their representatives declined to comment or didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Topping the Bloomberg Pay Index for 2016 is Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s online chief Marc Lore, who received $236.9 million in awarded compensation, the bulk of it from shares that were part of the purchase price for his Jet.com Inc. Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook took second and Evercore Partners Inc.’s John S. Weinberg was third.

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