The Highest Paid CEOs of 2023
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,627,086 (-0.52%)       Melbourne $991,016 (+0.02%)       Brisbane $1,008,247 (+0.57%)       Adelaide $881,757 (-1.94%)       Perth $857,431 (+0.47%)       Hobart $728,683 (+0.15%)       Darwin $650,080 (-2.29%)       Canberra $1,042,488 (+1.17%)       National $1,052,954 (-0.17%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $754,033 (-0.54%)       Melbourne $493,897 (-0.18%)       Brisbane $575,927 (+2.34%)       Adelaide $460,725 (+2.82%)       Perth $451,917 (+0.14%)       Hobart $507,207 (+0.52%)       Darwin $359,807 (+0.61%)       Canberra $486,447 (-2.01%)       National $534,000 (+0.26%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,472 (+43)       Melbourne 14,783 (-132)       Brisbane 7,948 (+15)       Adelaide 2,170 (+81)       Perth 5,836 (+49)       Hobart 1,243 (+2)       Darwin 251 (+7)       Canberra 967 (-21)       National 43,670 (+44)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,699 (+113)       Melbourne 8,259 (+38)       Brisbane 1,637 (+2)       Adelaide 386 (+14)       Perth 1,480 (-37)       Hobart 204 (+6)       Darwin 409 (+5)       Canberra 1,034 (+6)       National 22,108 (+147)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $820 ($0)       Melbourne $600 ($0)       Brisbane $640 (-$10)       Adelaide $610 (+$10)       Perth $680 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $740 (-$10)       Canberra $680 ($0)       National $675 (-$2)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $760 ($0)       Melbourne $595 ($0)       Brisbane $630 (-$10)       Adelaide $500 ($0)       Perth $625 (+$5)       Hobart $460 (+$10)       Darwin $535 (-$5)       Canberra $550 ($0)       National $595 (-$1)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,053 (+221)       Melbourne 6,376 (+263)       Brisbane 4,431 (+5)       Adelaide 1,566 (+60)       Perth 2,666 (-61)       Hobart 431 (0)       Darwin 102 (+7)       Canberra 621 (+19)       National 22,246 (+514)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,306 (+260)       Melbourne 6,173 (+102)       Brisbane 2,248 (-24)       Adelaide 399 (+26)       Perth 754 (+14)       Hobart 148 (+5)       Darwin 145 (+9)       Canberra 785 (+39)       National 20,958 (+431)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.62% (↑)        Melbourne 3.15% (↓)       Brisbane 3.30% (↓)     Adelaide 3.60% (↑)        Perth 4.12% (↓)       Hobart 3.92% (↓)     Darwin 5.92% (↑)        Canberra 3.39% (↓)       National 3.33% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.24% (↑)      Melbourne 6.26% (↑)        Brisbane 5.69% (↓)       Adelaide 5.64% (↓)     Perth 7.19% (↑)      Hobart 4.72% (↑)        Darwin 7.73% (↓)     Canberra 5.88% (↑)        National 5.79% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 28.7 (↓)       Melbourne 30.2 (↓)       Brisbane 30.7 (↓)     Adelaide 25.9 (↑)        Perth 35.8 (↓)       Hobart 37.6 (↓)     Darwin 37.0 (↑)      Canberra 28.5 (↑)      National 31.8 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 29.2 (↓)     Melbourne 30.4 (↑)        Brisbane 29.5 (↓)     Adelaide 26.3 (↑)        Perth 36.6 (↓)       Hobart 29.7 (↓)       Darwin 45.0 (↓)     Canberra 39.6 (↑)        National 33.3 (↓)           
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The Highest Paid CEOs of 2023

Stock awards push median package to a record $15.7 million; tech executives top the list

By THEO FRANCIS
Wed, May 22, 2024 9:04amGrey Clock 6 min

The chiefs of America’s biggest companies reached new pay heights in 2023 as stock awards swelled the value of compensation packages.

Half of the executives in a Wall Street Journal analysis made at least $15.7 million, a record for median CEO pay in the annual survey, with several making more than $50 million . Median pay for the same companies a year earlier was about $14.5 million.

Most of the executives received year-over-year raises of at least 9%—one in four got 25% or more—and most companies recorded annual shareholder returns of at least 13%, the Journal found in an analysis of data on more than 400 companies from MyLogIQ , a provider of public-company data and analysis. (See the full ranking below.)

Eight tech executives ranked among the 25 top earners, as did five each heading financial companies and media or entertainment companies.

Hock Tan , the highest-paid CEO in the Journal’s analysis at $162 million, has to stay on the job for five years and Broadcom ’s share price must reach certain targets after October 2025 to get the full value of most of his pay. Broadcom said the company has outperformed competitors under Tan, its CEO since 2006, and he won’t get more equity or cash bonuses for five years.

Pay for Nikesh Arora at Palo Alto Networks totalled $151 million, mostly in equity awards that included shares granted over three years.

Blackstone , where Steven Schwarzman made $120 million, said the company’s 83% total return surpassed U.S. asset managers last year and described its pay structure as aligning executive incentives with those of investors.

Christopher Winfrey of Charter Communications , the cable operator, received total pay valued at $89.1 million, largely in options and stock vesting over five years, and much of it only if the company’s shares rise 28% to 152% from when the grants were made.

A $30 million one-time retention and leadership award that vests over five years helped boost total pay for Fair Isaac ’s Will Lansing to $66 million. The company said its shareholder returns ranked among the top 1% of companies in the S&P 500 over the past decade.

Stock gains

Equity awards continued to make up the bulk of most executives’ pay, much of it structured to deliver more stock or options if the company meets financial or share-price performance over several years. That means the pay can lose considerable value if the company’s share price falls or operating targets are missed—or soar in value amid market and operating success.

Restricted stock awarded in early March last year to Jensen Huang , CEO of graphics-chip maker Nvidia , quadrupled in value through late January, to $107.5 million. Huang’s pay, originally reported at $34.2 million , included $26.7 million of restricted stock as valued at grant.

Under the terms of the award, Huang could receive 50% to 100% more shares than originally targeted if the company meets performance criteria, according to Nvidia’s proxy.

Nvidia’s share price tripled during the year.

Brian Niccol , CEO of restaurateur Chipotle Mexican Grill , received stock and options valued at $15.5 million when they were granted in February 2023 as part of a $22.5 million pay package. By the end of the year, that equity had more than tripled in value, to $52.2 million, the company said. Chipotle shares returned about 65% during 2023, and 18% a year over three years.

A Chipotle spokeswoman said the growth in Niccol’s equity-award value reflects the company’s strong share-price performance during the year. The company said the value Niccol ultimately realises depends on continued financial, operating and stock-market performance by the company.

Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger ’s equity awards last year also more than tripled in value by year-end, to $39.3 million. The company said in its securities filings that austerity measures last year reduced Gelsinger’s salary by about 15% to $1.1 million, which in turn reduced his cash bonus target by about 15%, to $2.9 million.

Overall, median cash pay for CEOs, including salary and annual bonuses, remained flat at about $3.8 million.

Top performers

Pay for CEOs running the best- and worst-performing companies didn’t vary dramatically. Median total pay was $14.6 million for the 20% of CEOs whose companies recorded the worst returns compared with other companies in the same sector, and $15.7 million for CEOs at the best-performing companies.

Chip and computer hardware makers accounted for six of the 25 best-performing companies—including Nvidia, the top performer—while four were in the travel or transportation industries. Several of the top performers bounced back from one or more years of poor returns, often tied to the pandemic.

Royal Caribbean Group reported paying Jason Liberty $17.2 million and recorded a total return of 162% last year, after posting minus 36% in 2022 and minus 43% in 2020, when the cruise industry was battered by illness and travel bans. (The company posted a 3% return in 2021.) Ride-sharing giant Uber Technologies recorded a 149% return after posting returns of minus 41% in 2022 and minus 18% in 2021.

Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices , ranked seventh by one-year performance, was headed by Lisa Su , the second-highest-paid woman in the analysis, at just over $30 million, including nearly $28 million in restricted stock and options. The highest-paid woman, at $31.55 million, was Julie Sweet of consultant Accenture , which posted a one-year total return of about 14%.

Thirty-one women ran S&P 500 companies for the full year of 2023, up from around two dozen at the beginning of the decade. None ranked among the top 25 by pay. One other woman ran one of the 25 best performers: Jayshree Ullal at networking company Arista Networks , which posted a 94% return. Ullal’s pay totalled $15.56 million.

Bottom of the pack

Among the 25 worst-performing companies in the Journal analysis, nearly a third operated in the healthcare sector, including six pharmaceutical or biotech companies. They were joined by four utilities.

Pfizer said it didn’t pay bonuses to top executives last year after weak demand for Covid-related products led the company to miss financial targets. The $17.5 million equity award that made up most of CEO Albert Bourla ’s total pay last year is meant to recognise his leadership and give him an incentive to focus on long-term strategy, the company said.

Poor performance can slash the value of CEO equity awards. Covid-vaccine maker Moderna reported total pay of $17.1 million for CEO Stéphane Bancel last year, including $12.5 million in stock and option awards.

The value of those awards fell 42% to $7.3 million at year-end, the company’s proxy shows, as Moderna’s stock price tumbled about the same amount for the year. In addition, equity awards made to Bancel in prior years fell in value by about $167 million during 2023.

Those losses offset a net $945 million in new equity awards and increases in value reported for Bancel during the prior three years.

Moderna declined to comment.

Methodology

The Wall Street Journal used data from corporate proxy statements filed through May 16 by companies in the S&P 500 index with fiscal years ended after June 30, 2023. The data was collected by MyLogIQ, a provider of public-company data and analysis.

Aggregate pay and shareholder-return figures exclude companies that changed CEOs or fiscal-year-end dates during the year.

Pay reflects the value of equity awards at grant, as reported by companies. Total returns reflect stock-price change and dividends, in most cases calculated from the month end closest to the company’s fiscal-year end.

Sources: MyLogIQ (compensation); Institutional Shareholder Services, FactSet (shareholder return); Standard & Poor’s (industry groups); company filings (pay for select companies)



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How the Middle East Became the Latest ‘Gold Rush’ in Marketing

The Middle East is set to be the fastest-growing marketing region in the world, driven by momentum in countries such as Saudi Arabia

By MEGAN GRAHAM
Tue, Jun 18, 2024 5 min

Saudi Arabia’s fledgling advertising industry and continued growth in the sector in the United Arab Emirates are helping to make the marketing business in the Middle East the fastest-growing in the world.

Ad spending in the Middle East is projected to increase 8.1% to $6.6 billion this year, up from 3.5% last year, according to advertising research firm WARC.

That expansion is building from a much smaller base than in many other ad markets. The Netherlands alone will generate $6 billion in ad spending in 2024, up about 2.3%, WARC said. But it is also enough to outpace every other region in 2024, the firm said.

“It reminds me almost of the gold rush,” said Reda Raad , chief executive of TBWA\Raad Group, an ad agency based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, that is part of the U.S.-based ad holding company Omnicom Group . “I don’t think we’re going to see this type of growth again in our lifetime.” TBWA\Raad has won eight new clients over the past year, with an increase in head count of 17% to accommodate the new work, Raad said.

Some international brands have long maintained a presence in the region. PepsiCo has considered the area a strategic market for decades, said Karim Elfiqi , senior vice president and chief marketing officer at PepsiCo Africa, Middle East and South Asia. Sponsorship deals with local stars such as Mohamed Salah , a soccer player from Egypt, “are a testimony of how over time, we have been part of the cultural fabric of the region,” Elfiqi said.

Other major brands have formed a more recent focus on the Middle East. The Lego Group opened a Middle East and Africa headquarters in Dubai in 2019, citing the size of the region’s young population. That office has developed work such as a Ramadan-themed campaign that ran in the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia, among other locations.

‘Massive growth’

The Middle East’s ad market has lagged behind regions such as North America and Europe partly because of stricter cultural norms and regulations that affected business, as did a more limited media landscape and economic instability, according to Raad.

But marketing growth in the region is now being driven in part by newfound marketing interest in Saudi Arabia, where ad spending this year is expected to reach $2.1 billion, nearly double its level in 2019, according to WARC. Growth is also coming from the U.A.E., whose ad market is expected to reach $1.7 billion in 2024. Smaller contributors include Qatar and Kuwait.

The landscape has changed now because of economic diversification, increased connectivity and a move into the digital world, leading international brands to enter and invest in campaigns tailored to the region, Raad said.

Four years ago, Saudi Arabia made up a small proportion of business at Lightblue, a creative experience and tech agency based in Dubai. These days, 40% of its business comes from the country, says co-founder David Balfour , who opened an office in Riyadh last month as a result.

“The conversation used to be, ‘We’re going to do this in Dubai.’ Now, it’s ‘We’re going to do this in Dubai—and in Saudi.’” Balfour said. “We’re seeing massive growth in that region.”

There have been speed bumps. As government spending reaches huge levels , Saudi Arabia experienced a rare economic contraction in 2023.

But the country’s efforts to expand its economic pursuits beyond oil have led to the creation of new brands, which are seeking the help of marketing agencies to get the word out.

Marketers in the region are seeking help to stay on-trend in areas such as generative artificial intelligence and social media, said Greg Paull , principal of R3, a consulting firm that helps match advertisers with agencies.

“U.A.E. has been a magnet for the region for 20 years as more investment has come in—but with the new leadership in Saudi since 2017 [when Mohammed bin Salman was named crown prince ], this market has gone through remarkable growth,” Paull said.

Saudi Arabia has faced criticism for its human-rights record under the crown prince, the day-to-day ruler of the kingdom, especially over the 2018 killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the more recent jailing of women’s rights activists.

Mohammed has outlasted the international isolation that followed Khashoggi’s killing, however, and continues to pursue an economic diversification plan dubbed Vision 2030. The country last year unveiled plans for a new international airline called Riyadh Air, is investing billions of dollars to build its tourism and videogame industries, and in March hosted a golf tournament in Jeddah under the auspices of LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed league that has both challenged the PGA Tour and struck a deal to unify with it.

Changing tides

Vision 2030 also calls women’s empowerment a top social priority and seeks to increase the country’s employment rate of women.

Nada Hakeem , CEO and co-founder of Saudi creative agency Wetheloft, said the perceptions of hardships for women in the marketing and advertising industry are outdated and inaccurate.

“As a Saudi woman who founded my company in 2012, I’ve always felt supported by the creative community and the industry as a whole,” Hakeem said. “While every society may have its challenges, I can confidently say that these challenges have not hindered our growth.”

A progression of new laws, policies and incentives are making the industry in Saudi Arabia more inclusive and supportive for women, she added.

In certain parts of the Middle East, “absolutely, it’s still challenging, but they are making the right strides, and they have the right quotas and ambitions in place,” said Rebecca Bezzina , CEO for the EMEA region at R/GA, an agency owned by Interpublic Group of Cos.

“They’ve got wealth, they’ve got world-class ambition, world-class budget. They’re not shy of doing things in the right way,” Bezzina added, speaking of the region overall. “But they still have a talent shortage, especially from a creative and design and product point of view. So often what we’ve found our success has been that they’ve come to us and said, ‘Oh, we want a world-class agency to help us launch this new venture or do this new brand.’”

R/GA said it sees 69% more requests for agency work from marketers in the region today than it did five years ago. It recently handled a brand redesign for Banque Saudi Fransi, which wanted to reaffirm its Saudi roots with a modern identity, and created Weyay, the brand for a new digital bank from the National Bank of Kuwait.

The agency hasn’t notably increased its regional workforce, but it has made changes to facilitate working across Europe and the Middle East.

Other Western players are making moves to capture a piece of the growth. Advertising giant WPP has long worked in Saudi Arabia through units such as Ogilvy and GroupM, but in 2021 established a joint venture with a local company to create ICG Saudi Arabia, a communications and media company based in Saudi Arabia. Ad holding company Stagwell opened new offices for its media agency Assembly in Riyadh in 2021 and in Cairo in 2022.

Regional hospitality

Some executives said certain facets of business dealings in the Middle East are different than in other parts of the world.

Bertrand Morin, a group account director for R/GA who is based in London and works often with Middle Eastern clients, said he spends much more time speaking about personal lives and families with those clients than those in the U.K. or U.S. He has been invited to Middle Eastern clients’ homes to join their families for dinner, something that has never happened with clients elsewhere.

But others say it can feel surprisingly familiar.

Balfour, the Lightblue co-founder, said he was struck by the number of ad-agency workers recently having dinner at the Riyadh location of steakhouse chain Beefbar, and the scene’s similarity to far-off locations.

“The staff are from everywhere in the world. The service and the food is unbelievable. There’s a DJ playing,” Balfour said. “Apart from not having alcohol, you could be anywhere in the world.”

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