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The highest paid CFOs of 2023, in case you wondered

Comparison is the thief of joy, but let’s just take a look.
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CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.

The Wall Street Journal recently released a report on the highest paid CFOs, and we’d just like to remind you that comparison is the thief of joy.

With that PSA out of the way, a few headline findings: Unsurprisingly, all but one of the highest paid CFOs are employed by S&P 500 companies, with the rare exception of pandemic wunderkind Zoom. There are only two who also appeared in 2022’s top 10, making the changing of the guard clear, and half of the top-earning CFOs are women.

At three companies in the top 10, the CFO made more than the CEO, and at two, CFO compensation grew more year over year than CEO pay.

So, on to the hallowed top 10. In the top slot, there’s John David Rainey of Walmart, who made almost $40 million in salary, a bonus, stock options, and other forms of compensation in 2023. (We hope he has a gorgeous kitchen.) Next up is the sole non-S&P 500 CFO, Zoom’s Kelly Steckelberg, whose pay increased more than the tech company CEO’s did (though he still made more than twice as much). Her $36.7 million compensation in 2023 was more than 93 times higher than the year before.

Meanwhile, the third-highest paid CFO, AMD’s Jean Hu, and Aon’s Christa Davies, in fourth place, both made more than their companies’ CEOs. The same was true for Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat, who will transition out of the role in July, after becoming the company’s longest serving finance chief. (Porat took the sixth spot on the list.) Rounding out the rest are the CFOs for Charter Communications, Apple, Blackstone, KKR & Co., and Booking Holdings.

For the sake of our own joy, we’re trying to steer clear of comparison, but as a fun thought exercise before you go to sleep tonight, we invite you to think about how you’d spend somewhere between $20 million and $40 million dollars. Now, that sparks joy.

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.