Russell 2000 CEO compensation on the rise

Executive pay increases across all revenue levels

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Orange gray purple line full viewFor the second consecutive year, the Grant Thornton Human Capital Services team (HCS) has collected and aggregated proxy pay data for the Russell 2000 constituents across five industries: Energies and Utilities, Financials, Healthcare, Industrials, and Information Technology. The survey presents salary, total cash compensation, total direct compensation, and short- and long-term incentive grant level data for the top named executives and 2nd highest paid through 5th highest paid. 

In examining year-over-years trends, the survey revealed an increase in overall revenue size for pre-revenue and revenue generating companies whereas revenue in large/mature companies did not change. CEO total direct compensation increased across all revenue levels with mature organizations experiencing the smallest increase. Overall, the median total direct compensation for CEOs increases significantly as Emerging/Growth institutions grow to Stable/Mature organizations.

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For the first time, the Grant Thornton HCS team has analyzed trends in board of director compensation including annual retainer compensation, cash compensation, equity compensation and total compensation. Compared to historical information available, organizations are transitioning from meeting fee-based compensation to cash-based retainers encompassing total hours spent opposed to those only on meetings.

Every organization should annually review its compensation programs and assess the structure and type of incentive plans it uses. As the survey found, most industries are characterized by increases in "at-risk" compensation, as companies place more compensation at-risk to ensure pay-for-performance linkage. This linkage is critical in emerging and mature public companies, with scrutiny by shareholder advisory groups influencing the voting patterns of the companies' shareholders and institutional investors.

Need executive compensation guidance? Grant Thornton is here to help. Reach out to our professionals below.

Eric Gonzaga
Partner, Human Capital Services
T +1 612 677 5336