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May 25, 2021

American CEOs earn plenty more than their Cdn. counterparts

You might think CEOs are all part of the same posh fraternity, but in fact the pay scale for chief execs differs greatly between nations.

In Canada, for instance, CEOs are festooned with riches – the average compensation among the top 100 paid chief execs equals 189 times what the typical Canadian earns each year – but how does pay stack up with top businessmen and women south of the border?

Compensation data out of the U.S. was released today, and on average terms, pay discrepancies between Canadian and American CEOs may not strike you.

But work up the list to the highest-paid execs in the U.S., and Canada’s richest CEOs start to look like a bunch of rags.

From data just released by the Associated Press, the typical CEO of a public company in the U.S. earned about $9.6 million in 2011.

*Bing: How to get a raise at work

In Canada, as of the latest figures, the average CEO compensation in 2011 was $8.38 million.

In reality, though, the difference in average pay is likely much greater. That $9.6 million figure from the U.S. is the average of the top 322 highest-paid public company CEOs in the U.S., while Canada’s $8.38 million is the average of just the 100 highest-paid public company CEOs.

Whatever the difference may be, a better indicator still is likely what the top CEOs in each country earn.

Canada’s top active CEO in 2011 was Donald Walker, the boss of Magna International, who took home compensation totalling $16.7 million.

Plenty, right? Perhaps not so when compared to David Simon, the highest-paid American CEO last year. In 2011, Simon, the CEO of shopping mall operator Simon Property, earned total compensation of $137 million. According to the AP, the company paid Simon so much so he wasn’t “lured to another company.”

Further analysis of CEO compensation data also shows what industries each country appears to value most. In the U.S., three of the top five highest-paid CEOs operate television or cable companies, while most of Canada’s top-paid CEOs fall in the mining and banking sectors.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...