The Highest-Paid Woman CEO Makes Less Than A Third Of The Highest-Paid Man


The highest-paid female CEO still made less than half of what was given to the highest-paid male CEOs, according to an analysis of executive pay by the Wall Street Journal.

CEO of TJX Carol Meyrowitz, which owns T.J. Mxx and HomeGoods, was the highest-paid woman in the survey and gets a compensation package of $20.6 million. The top-paid male executive, Lawrence Ellison of Oracle, gets a package valued at $76.9 million, more than three and a half times more. Meyrowitz ranks at number 27 on the list of 300 in terms of top pay.

Within her own industry, she may be paid well. The Journal notes that she made more than the CEOs of Kohl’s, Macy’s, and Gap. Similarly, it points out that the lowest-paid female CEO, Kim Bowers of gas station and convenience store retailer CST Brands Inc., made more than the chief executives of competitors World Fuel Service Corp., Delek US Holdings, and Western Refining Inc. Other analyses have come to different conclusions, however: A Bloomberg analysis last year noted that Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup, was paid 24 percent less than the average for the food industry and Heather Bresch of pharmaceutical company Mylan made 33 percent less than the average for her sector.

The numbers are somewhat hard to parse because there are just so few women to begin with. Just 14 companies out of the 300 that the Journal looked at have women as chief executives. Eight of those women earned more than the median CEO pay and six earned less. But analyses that include a larger pool of companies still find a pay gap. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that female CEOs made less than 80 percent of what male ones made in 2013, although that’s up from 69 percent two years ago. The Bloomberg analysis found that not just looking at CEOs, but at the highest paid executives at S&P; 500 companies, women are paid 18 percent less than men.

There are also some stark examples of unequal pay within companies. Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer made less than a man working under her who ended up being fired. General Motors’s CEO Mary Barra will make less than half of what her outgoing male predecessor made this year and less than what he will get as a senior advisor after his departure, although the company has noted her long-term compensation will represent a 60 percent increase over his.

And it’s clear that women aren’t getting less pay because they underperform. The Journal’s analysis found that the female CEOs delivered a median shareholder return of 36 percent, higher than the 34 percent for the full survey. There’s other evidence that women in leadership get better returns. Hedge funds run by women saw returns of 6 percent, beating the stock market, while the industry overall saw a 1.1 percent loss. There’s also a large body of evidence that having more women on corporate boards leads to better decisions for company value.