Expanded Russell 2000 study details exec pay


The impact of COVID-19 has been profound on our economy and has affected nearly all sectors of business activity. Executive compensation is no exception, and to show this impact, Grant Thornton presents its October 2020 fifth edition of Proxy Survey of Executive Compensation in the Russell 2000 Index.

Consistent with prior years, the survey presents salary, total cash compensation, total direct compensation and short- and long-term incentive level data for prominent C suite positions at publicly traded companies. The survey report covers data in 11 Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) sectors: Communications, Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Energy, Financials, Health Care, Industrials, Informational Technology, Materials, Real Estate and Utilities.

This survey provides compensation data for each GICS sector grouped into these “revenue cut” categories:

  • Emerging/Growth: under $500 million
  • Mid-Size: from $500 million to $1.5 billion
  • Stable/Mature: more than $1.5 billion

As one of the most comprehensive surveys of its kind, this report includes all the companies surveyed in the Russell 2000.

Overall, our analysis found that the median CEO total cash compensation ranged between 37% to 46% of total direct compensation, with long-term incentives representing more than 54% of total direct compensation across all revenue sizes. Additionally, we found that the median CEO total direct compensation ranged between 1.9 and 4.3 times the levels of total direct compensation for other executives. These compensation ratios differed depending upon the organization’s revenue size and level of the executive.

How does your executive compensation program compare? Download the October 2020 Proxy Survey of Executive Compensation in the Russell 2000 Index for all the details. To obtain a deeper understanding of recent executive compensation trends, compare this with our 2019 Russell 2000 Proxy Survey report




Eric Gonzaga

Eric Gonzaga is a Principal and practice leader for the Human Capital Services (HCS) group in Minneapolis.

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