Highest Paid CEOs in Retail: Target Tops the List

Highest Paid CEOs in Retail: Target Tops the List
It still pays to be a top CEO. According to the Equilar 200 Highest-Paid CEO Rankings, conducted for The New York Times, the highest total compensation in 2014 for a Chief Executive Officer was $156 million. Brian C. Cornell from Target ranked as the highest paid CEO at a retailer, making a reported $28 million.
If you make it to the top at some of America’s best known retailers, compensation is a pretty penny. While much of the overall compensation came in the form of stocks, the rankings also include generous cash bonuses and perks. Cornell’s base salary, for example, is just $595,000.
The following is an excerpt of the 11 retailers with the highest paid CEOs from The New York Times rankings (for total compensation):

Target. Brian C. Cornell: $28,164,024.
Brian C. Cornell took on the roll of Chairman and CEO of Target just recently in August, 2014. Cornell also served as the CEO of PepsiCo Americas Foods at Pepsico, Inc and was CEO and President of Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Cornell’s top priorities at Target are accelerating the company’s performance and advancing Target’s omni-channel evolution, according to the retailer.

Kate Spade. Craig A. Leavitt: $20,763, 090.

Leavitt was elected to the Board of Directors in February 2014 and served as Co-President and Chief Operating Officer of Kate Spade LLC from his arrival in April 2008 through October 2010 at which time he was named CEO of Kate Spade LLC. Prior to joining the company, he was President of Global Retail at Link Theory Holdings where he had total responsibility for merchandising, operations, planning and allocation and real estate for the Theory and Helmut Lang retail businesses. Previously, he spent several years at Diesel and 16 years at Polo Ralph Lauren.

CVS Health. Larry J. Merlo: $24, 285, 460.

Merlo became President and CEO of CVS Health in 2011. Under Merlo’s leadership, the company has strengthened its commitment to public health, eliminating tobacco sales in all of its stores in 2014 and changing its corporate name to CVS Health. Merlo, a pharmacist by education, joined CVS/pharmacy in 1990 through the company’s acquisition of Peoples Drug. 

L Brands. Leslie H. Wexner: $23, 645, 114.

Leslie H. Wexner is the founder, chairman and CEO of L Brands, Inc. In 1963, Wexner founded L Brands with one store in the Kingsdale Shopping Center in Columbus, Ohio – The Limited – with sales of $160,000 the first year. In the years that followed, he expanded his business portfolio through both invention and acquisition, growing L Brands to an approximately $10 billion segment leader with more than 90,000 associates focused on lingerie, beauty and personal care product categories.

TJX. Carol Meyrowitz: $23, 322, 902

Meyrowitz has been CEO of TJX since January 2007, a Director since September 2006 and also served as President from October 2005 to January 2011. TJX companies include T.J. Maxx, Homegoods and Marshalls. According to Forbes, Meyrowitz made headlines in early 2015 when she announced that, like Walmart, she would increase the minimum wage for hourly U.S. retail workers to $9 an hour. 

Starbucks. Howard Schultz: $21, 466, 454

Schultz is Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, resuming the role of CEO in January 2008. He joined Starbucks, in 1982, as director of operations and marketing when Starbucks had only four stores. Today, Starbucks has more than 21,000 stores in 66 countries. Schultz left Starbucks for a short period of time to start his own Il Giornale coffeehouses and returned in August 1987 as CEO to purchase Starbucks with the help of local investors. Howard created two landmark programs: Starbucks offered comprehensive health coverage for eligible full- and part-time workers, among the first in the retail industry, and offered employees equity in the company in the form of stock, called Bean Stock.

Walmart Stores. C. Douglas McMillon: $19, 070, 249

McMillon is the President and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Walmart). From February 2009 to February 2014, Doug served as President and CEO of Walmart International. From 2006 to 2009, he served as President and CEO of Sam’s Club. McMillon started out as an hourly summer associate in a Walmart distribution center in 1984.

Walgreens Boots Alliance. Gregory D. Wasson: $16, 707, 232

Wasson, President and CEO, retired after the close of the second step of the Alliance Boots transaction with Walgreens. Wasson joined Walgreens in 1980 as a pharmacy intern. In 2010, he led the acquisition of Duane Reade and, in 2012, identified the opportunity to begin the process of the strategic partnership with Alliance Boots.

Gap. Glenn K. Murphy: $16, 064, 312

Murphy served as CEO at The Gap, Inc. from 2007 until January 2015, when he retired, and served as the Chairman and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation from 2001 to 2007, according to Bloomberg.

Estee Lauder. Fabrizio Freda: $14, 981, 826

Fabrizio Freda has been President and CEO of The Estée Lauder Companies, since July, 2009, and is a member of the Company’s Board of Directors. He joined the company in March 2008 when he was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Freda previously had a 20-year career at Procter & Gamble (P&G), where he was responsible for various operating, marketing and strategic efforts. 
Williams-Sonoma. Laura J. Alber: $14,679,216

A driving force in the growth of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSI), Laura Alber has served as the company’s President and CEO since 2010. She has extended the WSI imprint into new categories with introductions such as Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, PBdorm and most recently new growth opportunities — West Elm and West Elm Market, Mark and Graham, Rejuvenation and the WS Agrarian collection.

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