A closer look at CIO salaries, bonuses and perks

Median pay among 26 IT leaders is $2.2 million, according to our analysis of CIO compensation.

Dave Barnes began his tenure at UPS as a part-time package handler in 1977. Today he’s CIO and global business service officer at the $55 billion shipping and logistics company.

He’s not the only CIO with impressive corporate longevity.

Deb Butler started at Norfolk Southern in 1978 in an accounting role, and today she leads the railway’s strategic planning and IT initiatives. Filippo Passerini joined Procter & Gamble in 1981 as a systems analyst in Italy and rose through the ranks to his current position: CIO and president of the company’s global business services organization.

Each of these veteran IT leaders is included in our analysis of CIO compensation. There are also several recently hired tech chiefs, including Sears CIO Jeff Balagna, who joined the retailer in 2013; JCPenney CIO Scott Laverty, who was hired in 2012; and AutoZone CIO Ron Griffin, another 2012 hire.

For long-timers and newcomers alike, finding out how much CIOs really earn is not easy to do.

CIO salaries in the U.S. average between $153,000 and $246,750, according to Robert Half Technology. But salary is just the beginning. Cash bonuses and equity awards can propel pay packages into the millions.

To get a more complete tally, we scoured the proxy statements of the 500 largest U.S. companies and found 26 that disclosed CIO pay.

Among these 26 tech leaders, the lowest paid is Tech Data CIO John Tonnison, who received a pay package valued at $585,586. The highest paid is Procter & Gamble’s Passerini, who collected a $5 million pay package. 

The median pay among the 26 CIOs is $2.2 million – a popular amount. Four CIOs received $2.2 million last year: UPS’ Barnes, SunTrust Banks CIO Anil Cheriyan, Western Union CIO David Thompson, and Supervalu CIO Randy Burdick.

Five women are included in our analysis, and their pay packages range from the low end to the high end of the spectrum: Laurie Douglas, CIO at Publix ($818,914); Elizabeth Hackenson, CIO at AES Corp. ($1.5 million); Lisa Bachmann, COO at Big Lots ($3 million); Norfolk Southern’s Butler ($3.4 million); and Meg McCarthy, EVP at Aetna ($4.2 million).

Here are some other key findings from our analysis of CIO pay:

Salaries are just the beginning

Base salaries range from $346,706 on the low end (Michael Guggemos, CIO at Insight Enterprises) to $837,500 at the high end (Procter & Gamble’s Passerini). Close behind Passerini for the highest base salaries are: FedEx CIO Rob Carter, who received a $762,960 salary; Home Depot CIO Matt Carey, who earned a $673,077 salary; and Publix’s Douglas, who netted a $639,380 salary. 

Bonuses bulk up pay packages

Cash bonuses are typically tied to corporate performance, and senior IT executives are rewarded when their companies hit internal financial targets. Steve Van Wyk, EVP and head of technology and operations at PNC Financial Services Group, took home the most cash extras: $2.4 million in bonuses, including a signing bonus and compensation for bonuses forfeited at his former employer. Van Wyk joined PNC in January of last year.

Other noteworthy cash awards went to FedEx’s Carter ($2 million bonus); Martin Lippert, EVP of global technology and operations at MetLife ($1.8 million bonus); and Sears’ Balagna ($1.4 million bonus).

Planning for the future: equity rewards

Long-term incentives -- stock options, restricted stock, performance shares -- typically vest over time but are calculated according to their value on the grant date. In our roundup, the biggest equity awards went to:

Aetna’s McCarthy, who received stock awards valued at $2.8 million; Procter & Gamble’s Passerini, whose stock and option awards were valued at $2.7 million; Big Lots’ Bachmann, who was granted stock and option awards valued at $2.3 million; MetLife’s Lippert, who received stock and option awards valued at $2.3 million; Paul Moulton, EVP and CIO at Costco, who received stock awards valued at $2.3 million; and Home Depot’s Carey, who received stock and option awards valued at $2.1 million.

Raises and pay cuts

Among the group of 26 CIOs, 17 have pay data available for 2013 and 2012. Of those 17, six earned more last year than they did the year before. Eleven saw their pay cut last year.

Among the tech leaders who netted raises last year, the largest went to Procter & Gamble’s Passerini, who received a 20% bump. Big Lots’ Bachmann received an 18% raise, which increased her pay package to $3 million.

Of the 11 CIOs who saw their pay slashed, the biggest cut went to Tech Data’s Tonnison. His $585,586 pay package is down 45% from 2012, when he earned $1.1 million. SunTrust Banks’ Cheriyan saw his compensation drop 41% to $2.2 million, compared to $3.7 million a year earlier. Dale Asplund, CIO at United Rentals, took a 35% pay cut, which brought his compensation down to $1.5 million.

Private jets, security services and relocation benefits  

Executive perks varied significantly, with some CIOs enjoying private jets and car allowances and other CIOs receiving little or no compensation extras.

At the high end, FedEx’s Carter racked up $409,256 in perks and other compensation. That bulk of that is a $364,509 tax reimbursement payment related to his restricted stock awards. Carter also received $15,562 for security services and equipment, $5,700 for tax preparation services, and $7,500 for financial counseling services, among other perks.

Aetna’s McCarthy received $167,750 in perks and other compensation, most of which was for personal use of company aircraft ($147,557).

PNC's Van Wyk earned extras worth $153,085 -- $125,274 in relocation costs and $27,811 for using PNC aircraft for trips made during his hiring transition.

Sears likewise picked up the moving tab for its new CIO. Balagna’s compensation extras, valued at $122,266, included: $94,251 in company-paid relocation expenses (including $44,251 in related tax gross-up payments); $25,868 for housing expenses (including $6,706 for tax gross-ups); and $2,147 for commuter expenses (including $557 for tax gross-ups).

The CIOs who received the least amount of perks are: JCPenney’s Laverty ($1,125); United Rentals’ Asplund ($3,000); and Insight Enterprises’ Guggemos ($9,446).

Life after CIO

"CIO" isn't the the final rung in the corporate ladder for some IT professionals. A number of the CIOs in our roundup have also taken on operations responsibilities.

Bachmann, for instance, was named CIO of Big Lots in 2005 and then promoted to EVP and chief operating officer in 2011. As COO, she added responsibility for store operations to her workload, which includes overseeing IT, merchandise planning and allocation, and distribution and transportation services.

Similarly, Thompson joined Western Union in April 2012 as CIO and took over IT. Seven months later, he added global operations to his responsibilities.

Tech and operations fall under the purview of MetLife’s Lippert. He oversees MetLife’s worldwide technology infrastructure along with customer sales and service, global sourcing, global procurement, corporate real estate, and business and operations management.

McCarthy was once Aetna's CIO. Today, as EVP of operations and technology, she oversees a wide range of activities, including clinical innovation, technology and service operations. Responsibility for process improvement, procurement and real estate services also falls under McCarthy’s domain.

At UPS, Barnes is responsible for global business services, which includes shared services support for HR, accounting, procurement, and customer contact centers.

Eduardo Conrado took a different path to IT: After six years as chief marketing officer at Motorola Solutions (and more than 20 years with the company), Conrado was named SVP of marketing and IT, a role designed to fuse the marketing and IT organizations.

About the numbers

Are these 26 CIOs the highest paid tech chiefs in the U.S.? No.

Each of these CIOs is among the top earners at his or her company. But that doesn't mean they are the highest paid CIOs. Because of the rules of financial reporting, most companies don’t disclose how much their CIO is paid. A public company is only obligated to report the compensation of its principal executive officer (CEO), principal financial officer (CFO), and three most highly compensated officers. If a CIO or senior IT leader ranks among a company's three most highly paid executives, his or her compensation is reported in the organization's proxy statement. A CIO might have earned a multimillion-dollar pay package, but if more than three executives at the company topped that amount, that IT leader's pay is not disclosed. In our search of the 500 largest U.S. companies’ proxy statements, we found 26 that disclosed CIO pay. There are undoubtedly higher paid IT chiefs whose compensation is not publicly reported.


Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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