In 2017, the average compensation package for CEOs of companies listed on the benchmark Standard and Poor's 500 index (S&P 500) was $13.9 million. The average S&P 500 CEO earns 361 times more than the average company worker, with some chief executives taking home more than 6,000 times what a run-of-the-mill employee makes.
Two years after the 2008 economic catastrophe, comprehensive legislation known as the Dodd-Frank bill was enacted. One of the most controversial provisions of the bill is the section that gave publicly traded companies eight years to list CEO-to-median-worker pay ratios in their annual proxy statements. In 2018, America's largest corporations revealed their 2017 ratios for the first time. Some companies have since revealed their 2018 ratios.
Using data from the AFL-CIO, Stacker compiled a list of 50 of the biggest and best-known of those companies, some of which pay their CEOs thousands of times more than the median company worker. In other cases, the two salaries are fairly close, with one company actually paying its CEO less than the median rank-and-file employee. Here's a look at pay disparity in America's most prominent companies as it pertains the median worker's salary and the CEO's pay package, which includes salary, bonuses, stock awards, and any other compensation.
Read on to find out how 50 CEOs' salaries compare to the salaries of their workers.
RELATED: Highest paid CEO in every state
CEO: Mindy Grossman
CEO pay: $33,372,283 (2017)
Median worker pay: $6,013
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 5,908:1
Weight Watchers is all about slimming down—but apparently not when it comes to executive compensation. Former Home Shopping Network CEO Mindy Grossman joined the global weight loss giant in 2017, and her pay package as CEO, president, and director of Weight Watchers represents the largest disparity between CEO and worker pay of any company listed on the S&P 500.
CEO: Margaret H. Georgiadis
CEO pay: $31,275,289 (2017)
Median worker pay: $6,271
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 4,987:1
If you ever played with a Barbie or rode on a Power Wheels when you were a kid, you know the Mattel corporation. If you can't imagine a Mattel employee getting by in America on a little more than $6,000 a year, don't worry, most of them don't have to. About 27,500 Mattel employees—nearly four out of five—are located outside the U.S., so overall worker pay is less than 25% of that paid to the median Mattel employee in the U.S.
CEO: Fran Horowitz
CEO pay: $10,262,749 (2017)
Median worker pay: $2,991
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 3,431:1
Fran Horowitz served in a variety of executive roles at Abercrombie & Fitch, including Hollister brand president, before taking over as CEO in 2017. Employees there enjoy store discounts and other perks, but the median pay is among the lowest of any major corporation, especially compared with the eight-figure sum Horowitz takes home, which is 3,431 times more lucrative.
CEO: Stephen Easterbrook
CEO pay: $21,761,052 (2017)
Median worker pay: $7,017
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 3,101:1
Last year, Forbes asked "How Many Workers Must Live In Poverty For McDonald's CEO To Make $21.8 Million?" In the article, Forbes used the world's biggest fast-food chain as an analogy for the executive-worker pay disparity. The answer is 3,101: That's how many years the median worker would have to work to match the $21.76 million CEO Stephen Easterbrook earns in just 365 days.
CEO: Arthur Peck
CEO pay: $15,587,186 (2017)
Median worker pay: $5,375
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 2,900:1
Roughly 135,000 people work for Gap; with the median among them a part-time sales associate in Alabama who makes less than $5,400 a year. CEO Art Peck, on the other hand, enjoyed a 75% pay raise after the global apparel chain's sales and profits improved.
CEO: George C. Freeman III
CEO pay: $3,711,199 (2018)
Median worker pay: $1,528
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 2,429:1
A $3.71 million salary is nothing to brag about in terms of annual compensation for CEOs of major corporations—until you compare it to the $1,528 the median Universal employee earns in the same time period. George C. Freeman III, who has been chairman and CEO of the tobacco giant since 2008, enjoys annual compensation that's more than 2,400 times that earned by the company's median employee.
CEO: Gerald W. Evans Jr.
CEO pay: $9,581,986 (2017)
Median worker pay: $5,237
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 1,830:1
Hanesbrands, the largest everyday basic apparel company in the world, employs more than 70,000 workers—one of whom is inching toward an eight-figure salary. Gerald W. Evans Jr. was elected CEO and appointed to the board of directors in 2016 after a decade of successful ventures at the executive level starting in 2006.
CEO: Jane Elfers
CEO pay: $15,757,167 (2017)
Median worker pay: $8,693
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 1,813:1
Since becoming president and CEO of the Children's Place in 2010, Jane Elfers has enjoyed wide-ranging praise for resurrecting the brand, and she's been well compensated for her efforts. On Aug. 28, 2018, she cashed in when she sold 100,000 shares of company stock for $134.93 per share for a total haul of $13.5 million.
CEO: Robert Greenberg
CEO pay: $7,764,992 (2017)
Median worker pay: $5,140
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 1,512:1
Robert Greenberg operated a roller skate shop, sold electronic tweezers, imported antique clocks, opened a hair salon, and finally launched L.A. Gear before he and his family struck gold by founding Skechers U.S.A. The company started in 1992 as a utility boot collection and is now a $4.16 billion collection of globally distributed brands.
CEO: Laura Alber
CEO pay: $14,429,332 (2017)
Median worker pay: $9,771
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 1,477:1
Although women make up half the American workforce, they fill just 6% of CEO positions at the companies listed on the S&P 500. Williams-Sonoma president and CEO Laura Alber is counted among that small percentage. The self-made woman joined the consumer retail company at an entry-level position and worked her way all the way up to chief executive, a position she achieved in 2010.
CEO: Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh
CEO pay: $8,543,344 (2017)
Median worker pay: $5,833
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 1,465:1
Longtime CEO and chairman Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh has helmed the Del Monte corporation since 1996. The company went public the following year. Abu-Ghazaleh also holds a variety of business and philanthropic interests across the Middle East and other parts of the world.
CEO: Greg Creed
CEO pay: $12,368,607 (2017)
Median worker pay: $9,111
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 1,358:1
Every time you eat at KFC, Pizza Hut, or Taco Bell, you contribute just a little bit to the compensation package of Greg Creed. Yum! Brands spun off from PepsiCo in 1997 and currently opens an average of seven new restaurants every day. Of the company's 1.5 million global employees, half earn $9,111 or less.
CEO: Barbara Rentler
CEO pay: $12,400,574 (2017)
Median worker pay: $9,437
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 1,314:1
In operation since 1982, Ross Stores holds the title of America's largest off-price retail chain. Barbara Rentler has been CEO of the company since June 2014. She occupied executive and other high-level positions at Ross, however, since the mid-1990s.
CEO: C. Douglas McMillon
CEO pay: $22,791,276 (2018)
Median worker pay: $19,177
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 1,188:1
C. Douglas McMillon is currently the president and CEO of Walmart, so in terms of the 265 million customers who shop at the company's 11,200 stores in 27 countries, the buck stops with him. McMillion started his career with the world's largest retailer, however, at the bottom. He joined the company in 1984 when he worked at a Walmart distribution center as an hourly associate.
CEO: Edward W. Stack
CEO pay: $10,035,570 (2017)
Median worker pay: $9,885
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 1,015:1
Edward W. Stack is the son of Dick Stack, who founded the global sporting goods chain, which now boasts more than 700 stores. Along with his siblings, Edward W. Stack bought the business from their father and went public in 2002.
CEO: Alessandro Bogliolo
CEO pay: $13,976,418 (2017)
Median worker pay: $32,055
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 783:1
The first company on this list where the CEO makes less than 1,000 times more than the median worker is the physical embodiment of upscale elegance: Tiffany & Co., the most famous jeweler in the world and a synonym for upscale style since 1837. After a series of executive positions with organizations like Bulgari and Sephora USA, Alessandro Bogliolo was named president and CEO of the company.
CEO: Craig A. Menear
CEO pay: $11,641,012 (2017)
Median worker pay: $21,095
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 552:1
Home Depot chairman, president, and CEO Craig A. Menear is often photographed wearing the hardware chain's trademark orange apron, just like the average worker—but he makes more than 550 times the median Home Depot employee. Menear spent two decades with the company before taking the wheel, including roles in store operations, supply chain, and merchandising.
CEO: Stephen Kaufer
CEO pay: $47,933,462 (2017)
Median worker pay: $99,643
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 481:1
Just four CEOs earned more in 2017 than TripAdvisor's Stephen Kaufer, but a middle-of-the-pack employee at the online review, travel, dining, and entertainment site TripAdvisor also does well, raking in just shy of six figures. Kaufer co-founded the company in 2000 and has served as president and CEO ever since.
CEO: Kenneth Martindale
CEO pay: $6,918,152 (2017)
Median worker pay: $16,901
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 453:1
Supplement and vitamin superstore GNC in 2016 elevated Kenneth Martindale from CEO to CEO and chairman of the board. Even before the upgrade, Martindale earned nearly $7 million a year—more than 450 times the median GNC employee.
CEO: Michele G. Buck
CEO pay: $10,274,601 (2017)
Median worker pay: $28,173
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 376:1
Chocolatier Milton Hershey began putting smiles on the faces of kids of all ages 125 years ago, and today, the Hershey Company is helmed by president and CEO Michele G. Buck—she's the 12th person to hold those titles in the company's history. Buck held several senior and executive positions dating back to 2005; before that, she worked for Kraft/Nabisco and in the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo.
CEO: Dr. Gerald Paul
CEO pay: $6,335,047 (2017)
Median worker pay: $17,550
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 361:1
Vishay Intertechnology is a major player in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, and while it might not be the most famous company on the list, it's important for its level of pay disparity. The $6.34 million earned by current CEO and longtime executive Dr. Gerald Paul represents a CEO-to-median-worker pay ratio of 361:1, which is the exact average that exists across corporate America as a whole.
CEO: Thomas R. Greco
CEO pay: $6,127,997 (2017)
Median worker pay: $18,460
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 329:1
Advance Auto Parts is the first company on this list with a CEO-to-median-worker pay ratio that falls below the national average. The company's CEO, Thomas R. Greco, has served as the company's top executive and president since 2016. He came to Advance Auto Parts from Frito-Lay, where he held several executive roles.
CEO: Daniel P. Amos
CEO pay: $22,830,984 (2017)
Median worker pay: $76,089
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 300:1
The insurance company Aflac boasts one of the Fortune 200's longest-tenured CEOs as its chief executive, as well as one of the most successful executives in corporate America. The talents of Daniel P. Amos go beyond business acumen—he's a creative force, as well. If you enjoy the Aflac TV commercials that feature the company's talking duck, you have Amos to thank—he launched the ad campaign in 2000.
CEO: Jeffrey A. Miller
CEO pay: $23,078,364 (2017)
Median worker pay: $79,636
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 290:1
Halliburton became a household name starting in 2003 when the energy giant was awarded lucrative contracts as part of the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq. Much of that invasion was planned and justified by then-Vice President Dick Cheney, a former Halliburton CEO. Today the company's CEO is Jeff Miller, a former rodeo rider who has worked at the company for two decades. He earns 290 times the median Halliburton's hefty annual salary of nearly $80,000 a year.
CEO: David M. Cordani
CEO pay: $17,595,792 (2017)
Median worker pay: $63,010
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 279:1
For health services giant Cigna, the arrival of 2019 represents a full decade under the leadership of David M. Cordani. After taking the reins in 2009, Cordani has achieved several notable accomplishments, including massive growth both in company revenue and shareholder returns.
CEO: David P. Abney
CEO pay: $14,608,732 (2017)
Median worker pay: $53,443
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 274:1
David P. Abney worked his way up from the bottom of the UPS ladder to the very top. Abney began his career as a part-time package loader to earn money while in college.
CEO: James Quincey
CEO pay: $10,582,230 (2017)
Median worker pay: $47,312
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 230:1
The median Coca-Cola employee earns more than $10,000 less than the median household income in the United States. The maker of the world's most famous soda pays its CEO—former Coca-Cola Europe Group president James Quincey—230 times that amount.
CEO: James P. Hackett
CEO pay: $16,731,724 (2017)
Median worker pay: $87,783
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 199:1
James P. Hackett holds the distinction of being the CEO of the first major American company that has a CEO-to-median-worker pay ratio under 200 to one. Hackett was the chairman of the Ford Smart Mobility division before he became the chief executive of the entire company.
CEO: Dennis A. Muilenburg
CEO pay: $18,450,416 (2017)
Median worker pay: $111,204
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 166:1
Aerospace and defense giant Boeing is a $93 billion company with 140,000 employees—well-paid employees, at that. With a median company salary well into the six figures, CEO Dennis A. Muilenburg has to pull in nearly $18.5 million a year to meet the company's 166:1 pay ratio.
CEO: Matthew S. Levatich
CEO pay: $11,116,676 (2017)
Median worker pay: $77,958
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 143:1
Harley-Davidson is the corporate embodiment of America's motorcycle culture. The man helming the ship is Matthew S. Levatich, who makes right around corporate America's median CEO pay package of $11.7 million. Levatich, who wears a black, leather biker jacket in his company portrait, held several high-level positions before joining the company 25 years ago.
CEO: Robert L. Fornaro
CEO pay: $2,238,356 (2017)
Median worker pay: $36,149
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 62:1
Spirit Airlines earned some welcomed accolades in 2018 when Forbes reported the company delivered more on-time flights than United or American. Robert L. Fornaro earned the twin titles of president and CEO in January 2016 after a long career in the industry, including a stint as CEO of AirTran.
CEO: Colin M. Angle
CEO pay: $5,961,342 (2017)
Median worker pay: $134,822
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 44:1
Colin M. Angle used his electrical engineering background to co-found iRobot, a company famous worldwide for its self-guiding, self-steering, disc-shaped robotic vacuum cleaners. Before his current tenure as CEO and chairman of the board of his company, Angle worked for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
CEO: Mark Zuckerberg
CEO pay: $8,852,366 (2017)
Median worker pay: $240,430
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 37:1
Do you spend much of your day with your face buried in your phone, scrolling through your Facebook feed? For that, you can thank Mark Zuckerberg, the man who founded the world's largest social media network while still in Harvard and later came to embody Silicon Valley tech culture. One of the richest and most controversial men in the world, Zuckerberg has a net worth of $53.9 billion—but he and his wife have pledged to give away 99% of their stake in Facebook over the course of their lives.
CEO: Michael S. Dell
CEO pay: $2,755,901 (2018)
Median worker pay: $83,139
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 33:1
Michael S. Dell could be the poster child for the American entrepreneurial spirit. Dell became the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company in 1992, just eight years after he founded his namesake company in his college dorm room.
CEO: Scott W. Wagner
CEO pay: $1,505,000 (2017)
Median worker pay: $65,391
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 31:1
GoDaddy made shopping for domain names easy for the average computer user and has since branched out to offer a range of website services. Scott W. Wagner is the chief executive of the company, which he joined in 2013 after a long career in global investing.
CEO: Vincent McMahon
CEO pay: $3,087,537 (2017)
Median worker pay: $107,556
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 29:1
Third-generation wrestling promoter Vince McMahon is one of the most unconventional CEOs in all of corporate America. McMahon grew up in a trailer park in North Carolina, joined his father's small wrestling operation, World Wrestling Federation (WWF), in 1972, bought it in 1982, and transformed it into what is now the WWE, a $1 billion a year company that's broadcast in 150 countries.
CEO: James D. Reed
CEO pay: $1,039,205 (2017)
Median worker pay: $37,468
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 28:1
1,600 drivers work for USA Truck, one of the largest over-the-road truckload carriers in the world, although it started with fewer than 10 tractor-trailers in 1983. Before joining the company in 2016, James D. Reed attained a long and successful resume in the industry, including the position of chief financial officer for Interstate Distributor Company.
CEO: James Park
CEO pay: $3,624,301 (2017)
Median worker pay: $160,198
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 23:1
Through its sleek, wrist-worn fitness watches, Fitbit brought individualized fitness wearables to the masses. James Park is not just the president and CEO of Fitbit, he also co-founded the company in 2007, when advanced sensors and wireless technology were just entering the mainstream.
CEO: Christopher North
CEO pay: $1,556,800 (2017)
Median worker pay: $77,446
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 20:1
Shutterfly rode the digital photography wave to corporate superstardom by transforming regular old pictures into giftable keepsakes. Christopher North, the company's CEO and director of the board, previously worked as managing director of Amazon UK, which he transformed into a $9 billion operation.
CEO: Jirka Rysavy
CEO pay: $955,093
Median worker pay: $63,130
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 15:1
Gaia has cashed in on the wellness, meditation, and yoga craze with a sleek, user-friendly app that offers more than 8,000 videos, personalized instruction, and more than 300,000 minutes of ad-free programming. Chairman and CEO Jirka Rysavy founded Gaia and currently owns 38% of outstanding company shares. Before that, he founded Corporate Express, which he built into a Fortune 500 company with $4.7 billion in revenue.
CEO: Steven R. Mumma
CEO pay: $2,403,971 (2017)
Median worker pay: $234,836
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 10:1
New York Mortgage Trust doesn't have the brand recognition of Facebook or Walmart, but if you have a 401(k) or own an index fund, chances are good you own a little piece of the real estate investment trust (REIT). Steven R. Mumma knows every facet of the company. Before he became CEO, Mumma served as chief investment officer and chief financial officer.
CEO: Robert A. Frist Jr.
CEO pay: $532,666 (2017)
Median worker pay: $71,037
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 8:1
Health care personnel and solutions provider HealthStream pulled in $247.7 million in revenue in 2017. Only a touch over a half-million dollars went to its CEO, Robert A. Frist Jr., the first chief executive on this list to command only six figures in total compensation. The co-founder of the company, Frist has served as CEO and chairman of the board since 1990.
CEO: Patrick M. Byrne
CEO pay: $444,576 (2017)
Median worker pay: $56,806
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 7:1
Patrick M. Byrne promised investors there was no cause for alarm when he sold $20 million worth of company stock, which caused a stir among industry watchers in 2018. Byrne was already a successful entrepreneur when he launched Overstock.com during the height of the dotcom boom in 1999. He pulled in less than half a million dollars in 2017.
CEO: Nicholas Woodman
CEO pay: $800,147 (2017)
Median worker pay: $151,857
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 5:1
GoPro CEO Nicholas Woodman is also a member of the small and exclusive six-figure CEO club, but it wasn't always that way. During the action/sports camera maker's boom years in 2014, Woodman was the highest-paid CEO in America when he was awarded a $285 million compensation package. By 2017, however, the boom was over, and the company was foundering, which led to the revocation of his bonus. Moving forward, he'll be getting an even steeper pay cut—the GoPro board determined he'll earn no more than a nominal fee of $1 until things improve.
CEO: Richard A. Hayne
CEO pay: $41,480 (2018)
Median worker pay: $8,884
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 5:1
Hippie-turned-billionaire Richard A. Hayne opened his first clothing shop with just $4,000 in the mid-1970s. Today, he and his wife own a quarter of the Urban Outfitters company, which operates 200 stores across a chain that does $3 billion in revenue. He has the third lowest salary of any company listed on the S&P 500.
CEO: Maria Fardis
CEO pay: $850,000 (2017)
Median worker pay: $284,354
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 3:1
Dr. Maria Fardis has a long history of developing exciting and innovative treatments through not just executive roles, but also medical and scientific positions at a string of major pharmaceutical companies. As CEO of Iovance, she's leading the development of personalized cellular immunotherapies as a cancer treatment. The median worker at Iovance earns nearly $285,000 a year, just one third the total of Fardis' compensation package, give or take a few thousand.
CEO: Aaron Levie
CEO pay: $275,200 (2018)
Median worker pay: $181,100
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 2:1
When Aaron Levie launched business software company Box in 2005, the company consisted of only him, his three co-founders and a handful of staff. Today, Box employs more than 2,000 people, the median of which is paid a little less than half the value of Levie's $275,200 compensation package.
CEO: Warren Buffett
CEO pay: $100,000 (2017)
Median worker pay: $53,510
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 2:1
Nicknamed the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett is probably the most successful investor of all time. Now worth $81.1 billion, Buffett first bought stock at age 11 and filed his first tax return at age 13. The founder of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns more than 60 companies, Buffett has given $35 billion to charity and has pledged to eventually donate 99% of his fortune.
CEO: Niraj Shah
CEO pay: $83,200 (2017)
Median worker pay: $36,645
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 2:1
Wayfair, one of the largest online homeware sites in the world, took in $6.2 billion in revenue in 2018 alone. The company was co-founded by Niraj Shah, who serves as CEO and co-chairman. Prior to Wayfair, Shah founded other successful startups and held a string of high-level, executive positions dating back to the 1990s. Just four S&P 500-listed CEOs earn lower salaries.
CEO: Elon Musk
CEO pay: $49,920 (2017)
Median worker pay: $54,816
CEO/median worker pay ratio: 1:1
Although his SpaceX company is aiming to revolutionize travel in the cosmos, Elon Musk's other company, Tesla, is doing the same thing here on Earth. Founded in 2003, Tesla is a leader in the emerging market of fully electric cars. Musk earns less than the median employee at Tesla and ranks #4 in terms of lowest salaries among all S&P-listed company CEOs.