Top 10 CEO Salaries in Retail

A few short years ago, it was rare to see CEOs with double-digit, multi-million-dollar salaries. With stocks up and jobs growing, some believe the economy is beginning to look up. While progress is slow, many retail CEOs are feeling the benefits. There were some surprising results in who made the Top 10 – and who didn't – so, who can truly say retail has been very good to them?
Ron Johnson, ex-CEO of JCPenney is no stranger to the limelight. The public has been following his journey with JCP closely over the past year. In last year's report, we looked forward to seeing how Johnson's compensation would be structured when the retailer made its salary report public. The journey has been interesting thus far, but Ron Johnson didn't make this year's list. Johnson's total compensation was recently reduced from $53,281,505 (which would have topped the list) to $1,888,587, with the removal of various incentives and awards, and shortly thereafter it was announced that Johnson would be stepping down as CEO.
While Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren's total compensation may have taken a hit with the reduction of stock, awards and incentives, Lundgren still places number six on this year's Top 10 list.
Salaries have climbed since the end of the last economic boom. Today, the top earner, Michael Jeffries of Abercrombie & Fitch, makes more than double his salary from 2010. Gregg Steinhafel of Target Corporation, the number two earner, makes more than double his salary in 2008.
Here are the Top 10 CEO salaries:
  1. Michael Jeffries, Chairman and CEO
    Abercrombie & Fitch
    Total Compensation: $48,069,473
  2. Gregg Steinhafel, Chairman, CEO and President
    Target Corporation
    Total Compensation: $19,707,107
  3. Leslie Wexner, CEO and Chairman of the Board
    Limited Brands
    Total Compensation: $19,230,484
  4. Michael Duke, CEO and President
    Walmart Stores
    Total Compensation: $18,131,738 
  1. Paul Marciano, CEO and Vice Chairman
    Total Compensation: $14,399,134
  2. Terry Lundgren, Chairman, CEO and President
    Total Compensation: $13,840,531
  3. Michael Balmuth, Vice Chairman, CEO and Director
    Ross Stores
    Total Compensation: $12,478,239
  4. Gregory Wasson, CEO and President
    Walgreen Co.
    Total Compensation: $12,041,058
  5. David Dillon, Chairman and CEO
    Total Compensation: $12,024,543
  6. Steven Fishman, Chairman, CEO and President
    Big Lots
    Total Compensation: $11,924,662
More than 50 retail companies were researched. The salaries noted are the most recent total compensation packages for publicly held companies that report their highest earners in annual documents filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). Figures shown include cash, equity and other compensation such as loans, insurance payments, severance awards, and so forth. It is likely some private retail companies also have highly paid executives, but privately held companies that do not file similar documents, are not included.
Double-digit, multi-million-dollar salaries are a necessity for retail's top earners. Several top executives that just missed the list include:
Robert Niblock – chairman of the board, CEO and president of Lowe's
Edward Stack – chairman and CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods
Carol Meyrowitz – CEO of TJX Companies
Francis Blake – chairman and CEO for Home Depot
William Lynch Jr. – CEO for Barnes & Noble

Although Ralph Lauren was not included on the list he is an interesting case. The company wasn't included because a large segment of its business is derived from being a supplier/manufacturer as opposed to pure retail. However, had it been included, chairman and CEO Ralph Lauren would have ranked second on the list with $35,325,782 in compensation.

Interestingly, CEOs for such large and successful retailers as Amazon, Kohl's, Build-A-Bear, Best Buy, Nordstrom, Saks, Sears and Williams-Sonoma didn't come close to making the list. Does this say something about these CEOs or their companies or just further feed the inability to make logical sense of CEO compensation?
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