Top 10 Retail CIO Salaries: Best Buy, Amazon, Guess Lead List

(Editor's Note: This story has changed since it was first posted. The salary figure for Rollin Ford, EVP and CIO of Wal-Mart, was incorrect. The figure was based on information found on a Web page on, which was five years old and mistakenly left on the current Walmart profile page. It has since been removed. However, we did not remove Ford's name from the highest paid retail CIO's list for 2009. Although we don't know Ford's exact salary today, we know if he has never received a raise in five years, which is highly unlikely, he would still make this list.)

Despite one of the toughest years in generations many retail CIOs continue to be among the country's top earners, pulling in millions of dollars in compensation for competitive advantages and organizational benefits they bring to their companies. In this annual report, RIS evaluated the public salary records for hundreds of leading retailers to find the highest paid retail CIOs. Find out which CIOs earned the biggest paychecks.

Many retail CIOs are among the highest paid executives in their organizations for good reason. Some, like Bob Willett, who topped the 2008 and 2009 list, also carry the title of CEO for Best Buy International. Year over year, Willet nearly doubled his compensation for a job well done in his dual role at Best Buy. Another is William T. Giles, who wears many hats for AutoZone including: chief financial officer and executive vice president, finance, information technology and store development.

Like Willet, several on the list have increased their compensation year-over-year. Valentine of also nearly doubled his salary. Bachmann of Big Lots increased her salary by over $200,000, while Flaks of Children's Place increased his salary by more than $250,000. All of these retailers performed well in 2009.

Half of the CIOs on the list are new in 2009. These include Thomas M. Nealan of JC Penney, William T. Giles of AutoZone, Keith Morrow of Blockbuster, Rollin Lee Ford of Wal-Mart and Michael Relich of Guess.

The highest earning CIOs are:

1. Bob Willett, CEO of Best Buy International & CIO, Best Buy
Total Compensation $8,592,830

2. H. Brian Valentine, Senior Vice President, Divisional, E-Commerce Platforms,
Total Compensation: $3,877,118

3. Thomas M. Nealan, Executive Vice President and CIO, JC Penney
Total Compensation: $2.09 million

4. William T. Giles, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Finance, Information Technology and Store Development, AutoZone
Total Compensation: $1,779,553.00

5. Lisa M. Bachmann, SVP Merchandise Planning and Allocation and CIO, Big Lots
Total Compensation: $1,572,566

6. Keith Morrow, CIO, Blockbuster
Total Compensation: $1,054,104

7. Richard Flaks, SVP Planning, Allocation, IT, Children's Place Retail Stores
Total Compensation: $982,909.00

8. Michael Relich, SVP and CIO, Guess
Total Compensation: $874,687.00

9. Rollin Lee Ford, EVP and CIO, Wal-Mart
Total Compensation: NA

10. Laurie Z. Douglas, SVP and CIO, Publix Supermarkets
Total Compensation: $540,093

Research for our report was based on public proxy statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC mandates that public companies file a report on what their top five highest paid executives earn in terms of salary, bonuses and incentives. The financial figures shown in this story represent what retail CIOs made in 2008.

It is likely that many large retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Costco, for example, have highly paid CIOs, but since more than five executives at these companies are more highly paid the CIO salaries do not appear in publicly available records. Also, it is equally likely that several private companies have highly paid CIOs, but since these companies do not file the same SEC reports there is no public record to review.

For more information on highest paid retail executives, see:

Top-10 Highest Paid Retail CIOs

Top 20 Highest Paid Retail Executives

Top 10 Highest Paid Retail CEOs

Top 10 Highest Paid Female Executives in Retail
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