CFOs Trail CEOs in Compensation Game

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CEOs continue to earn higher salaries than their CFO counterparts, but the difference in pay between the two groups is smaller in the health care market than in all other major industries, according to an analysis by BDO USA LLP, a Chicago-based accounting and consulting firm..

BDO USA’s analysis of 600 public companies shows that middle-market CFOs bring home average of $927,743, or around 40% of CEO pay ($2,338,874). CFOs received an average pay hike of 19% this year over last; CEOs, an average pay hike of 25% over last year.

“CEOs have always earned significantly more than other executives, but we have seen an even greater divide in recent years due to an increase in CEO pay leverage tied to the performance of their company’s equity,” Randy Ramirez, a senior director in BDO’s Compensation and Benefits Practice, said in a statement. “We expect CFO pay to start catching up within the next few years as the emphasis on pay-for-performance trickles down to other top executives.”

Moreover, the analysis shows, health care CFOs earned an average of $944,861 in 2010, roughly half (46.6%) of health care CEO pay ($2,028,241). Despite this sizeable divide in CEO and CFO salaries, the health care sector remains the most equitable of industries surveyed. While the compensation gap between CEOs and CFOs at health care companies remains large, health care is the “most equitable” of the major industries surveyed, Ramirez said.