CEOs at U.S. companies averaged $2.164 million in total compensation as of April 1, outstripping their counterparts at companies in 24 other countries, including Switzerland, which had the second highest pay level at $1.39 million, according to a newly released Towers Perrin's Worldwide Total Remuneration survey.
CEOs' average pay topped $1 million in only seven other countries surveyed. The average CEO pay in France ranked third at $1.202 million, followed by $1.184 million in the United Kingdom; $1.181 million in Germany; $1.137 million in Italy; $1.068 million in Canada; $1.033 million in Singapore; and $1.002 million in Mexico.
"Performance pay, which used to be primarily a practice of companies in North America and Europe, is making rapid strides in Asia and Latin America," noted Towers Perrin's report on the survey. "The prevalence, award levels and terms of eligibility for stock options continue to expand in Latin America and Asia at a time when many companies in North America and Europe are cutting back and turning to other types of stock-based incentives," it added.
Towers Perrin surveyed companies with about $500 million in worldwide annual sales. Companies were grouped according to the country where they were headquartered.