CEOs raked in millions during the pandemic: here are the 10 highest paid in 2020

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  • Ted Sarandos
    American businessman
  • Reed Hastings
    American entrepreneur and education philanthropist
<p>Co-founder and director of Netflix Reed Hastings delivers a speech as he inaugurates the new offices of Netflix France, in Paris on 17 January, 2020</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

Co-founder and director of Netflix Reed Hastings delivers a speech as he inaugurates the new offices of Netflix France, in Paris on 17 January, 2020

(AFP via Getty Images)

While many families across America have been struggling to make ends meet since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the income of many of the richest business people across the world has held firm.

And despite some companies having suffered massive losses on the balance sheet, many CEOs still raked in millions of dollars in compensation for their roles with some even increasing despite company losses.

Reflection on the year just gone, a new compilation by The New York Times has revealed the top ten richest CEO’s in the last year, and the companies they are in charge of.

“Many of these CEOs have improved profitability by laying off workers,” Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts told the newspaper.

She added: “A tiny handful of people who have shimmied all the way to the top of the greasy pole get all of the rewards, while everyone else gets left behind.”

But who were the top ten most wealthy CEOs in 2020?

10) Robert Bakish - ViacomCBS

ViacomCBS’s Robert Bakish brought in $38.97m ($28m) worth of compensation in the last year, making him the tenth richest CEO, according to The Times’ list.

The company describes itself as a mass media company that “delivers premium content to audiences across traditional and emerging platforms worldwide.”

9) Ted Sarandos - Netflix

Ted Sarandos the co-chief executive officer and chief content officer for Netflix was awarded $39.32m (£28.3m) in compensation last year.

The online streaming platform saw record growth in 2020 throughout the pandemic with the first quarter of 2020 being the strongest in its history, pulling in 15.8 million new customers.

8) Reed Hastings - Netflix

Reed Hastings, the second co-founder, chairman, and co-chief executive officer of Netflix earned $43.23m (£31.2m) in compensation in 2020.

While the streaming service smashed records in 2020, it added far fewer new customers than Wall Street expected in the first three months of 2021, missing its own forecast by millions of subscribers, Bloomberg reported.

7) Gregory Maffei - Formula 1

Gregory Maffei’s compensation in 2020 sits at $47.12m (£34m). According to reports, the sum marks an increase for the CEO from $44m (31.7m) in 2019 and $20.1m (£14.5m) in 2018.

6) Mike Sievert - T-Mobile

President and CEO of T-Mobile, Mike Sievert, netted $54.91m (£39.6m) in compensation last year after taking over the role as CEO of the Mobile telecommunication company in May 2020.

5) Chris Nassetta - Hilton

President and Chief Executive Officer of Hilton received $55.87m (£40.3m) compensation in 2020 according to The Times.

The newspaper said that the sum comes despite nearly a quarter of the corporate staff being laid off and company losses of $720 million as the hotel industry was decimated by the pandemic.

4) Larry Culp - General Electric

Larry Culp has been chairman and CEO of General Electric since October 2018 amassed $73.19m (£52.8m) as the fourth highest-paid CEO on the list.

General Electric Company is an American multinational conglomerate incorporated. Its website says the company has pioneered technologies that have spurred world-transforming changes and improved the lives of billions.

3) John Legere - T-Mobile

In the second T-Mobile appearance on the list, John Legere received $137.20m (£99m) in 2020 before he resigned as CEO in April 2020 following the approval of the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint.

2) Amir Dan Rubin - 1Life Healthcare

The CEO and president of 1Life Healthcare, a San Francisco-based chain of primary healthcare clinics, earned just shy of $200m in compensation in 2020, with the total of Amir Dan Rubin sitting at $199.05m (£143m).

1) Chad Richison - Paycom

Chad Richison ranks as the highest-paid CEO on the list in 2020 as the president of Paycom, an American online payroll and human resource technology provider based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

His compensation is the only one on the list to surpass $200m, sitting at $211.13m.

The Times noted that compensation was tallied from proxy filings accurate as of Friday and include salary, stock grants, bonuses, and other benefits.

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