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Annual CEO pay review: Top 3 findings

Susan DeVore, center, chief executive of Charlotte-based health care company Premier, speaks on a panel with Lynn Good, right, CEO of Charlotte-based Duke Energy. DeVore and Good are two of three women who head North Carolina’s 50 largest public companies.
Susan DeVore, center, chief executive of Charlotte-based health care company Premier, speaks on a panel with Lynn Good, right, CEO of Charlotte-based Duke Energy. DeVore and Good are two of three women who head North Carolina’s 50 largest public companies. ogaines@charlotteobserver.com

Each year, the Observer reviews North Carolina-based companies’ proxy statements, which give shareholders insight on the top executives’ pay. Our look at total compensation includes salary, bonus, the value of stock and option awards, above-market interest on deferred pay, and perks. We found:

1 For the first time in memory, the highest-paid CEO among North Carolina’s biggest public companies last year was a woman. Susan DeVore, chief executive of Charlotte-based health care company Premier, received total compensation of $24.9 million, the highest in the Observer’s review. DeVore topped the list primarily because of stock and option awards she received in connection with Premier becoming a public company in 2013. Those awards vest over three years and are tied largely to performance. The ranks of CEOs remain overwhelmingly male in North Carolina and across the country. Women lead just three of North Carolina’s 50 biggest public companies, and they constitute only 4.6 percent of CEOs at S&P 500 companies. Executive ranks also remain overwhelmingly white among North Carolina’s biggest companies, an exception being Paul Sunu of FairPoint Communications.

2 Median CEO compensation rose 5 percent last year, to $4.4 million. That’s nearly 137 times the median wage for the state’s other workers.

3 Some North Carolina CEOs received less compensation last year after their companies didn’t meet performance metrics. Kelly King, CEO of Winston-Salem’s BB&T Corp., saw his pay shrink about 8 percent, to $7.3 million, as the lender failed to meet targets.

Highest CEO pay in N.C.

Susan DeVore

Premier

$24,909,229

Up 231.58 percent

Daniel Delen

(retired April 2014)

Reynolds American

$21,773,800

Up 108.32 percent

Brian Moynihan

Bank of America

$14,627,721

Up 11.33 percent

Robert Niblock

Lowe’s Cos.

$14,279,945

Down 23.69 percent

Eric Wiseman

VF Corp.

$13,042,702

Up 14.26 percent

Jerome Peribere

Sealed Air Corp.

$11,963,159

Up 44.10 percent

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