Shareholder opposition to CEO pay packages continues to grow, but so does total pay, according to the ninth annual 100 Most Overpaid CEOs report issued Thursday by shareholder advocacy group As You Sow.
While the 2023 report asks if fund managers are "asleep at the wheel," it also offers examples of how some pension fund and asset managers hold companies accountable for excessive compensation.
The average pay of the CEOs of the S&P 500 companies studied this year was $38.2 million, a 30.6% increase from last year's average, while median pay, which is less influenced by stock awards, was $23.4 million, up 8%.
The gap between executive and worker wages also grew. According to the AFL-CIO, CEOs of S&P 500 companies received 324 times the pay of their median-paid workers on average, up from 299 times in 2020 and 264 times in 2019. Amazon topped that list, with a CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 6,474 to 1, the report said.
Shareholder votes against CEO pay continued a five-year upward trajectory to a high of 12.6% opposition, according to the report, which blamed a "continued weak response" from the biggest asset managers.