Mercer Releases Fortune 500 Executive Pay Data

November 20, 2003 ( - Corporate Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) at Fortune 500 companies bring in a median total cash compensation of $728,700 annually.

Total cash compensation figures – which include base pay and annual incentives – dropped for the top financial officers in a subsidiary ($314,300) and division ($269,100), but overall it was corporate CFOs that topped all other positions in Mercer Human Resource’s release of data from its inaugural “Premium Executive Compensation Survey – A Study of ‘Fortune 500’ Corporations.”

Similar stratification among median total compensation figures was noted by Mercer for controller positions. Where the corporate controller received an annual compensation of $290,900, controllers of a subsidiary only received $209,500 annually and division controllers report annual figures of $170,400.

Median total compensation totals among the other top earning positions in Fortune 500 companies included:

  • top corporate legal executive – $574,000
  • corporate chief information officer – $447,500
  • top division executive – $428,500
  • top marketing executive – $382,100
  • top corporate strategic partner – $378,500
  • corporate treasurer – $325,100.

The Mercer survey includes data provided by 38% of the Fortune 500 with median revenues of $8 billion. The survey includes reporting of executive compensation – base salary, annual incentive, long-term incentive, and more – for nearly 100 positions ranging from top corporate and function executives through director-level positions, as well as key executive positions in corporate subsidiaries, groups, and divisions.

The information for the survey can be accessed online via Mercer PayMonitor. The cost to purchase the survey is $7,200 for nonparticipants and $2,400 for participants. However, results of the survey will be sold to nonparticipants only if they agree to participate in the 2004 survey and are a Fortune 500 company or have revenues comparable to this group but are not a corporation.