Tesla CEO Elon Musk made more than $10 billion in 2021 – meaning the world’s richest man is also the highest paid CEO on the planet. 

Musk was the number one pick for fourth straight year. His pay packet is almost entirely made up by stock options. They have increased his personal wealth to $78 billion, estimated at around $269 trillion. 

The Musk payout is so huge that, out of the 14 most powerful CEOs according to Bloomberg, only 13 are listed following Tesla Chief. This amounts to just more than half of what he earns. 

Robert Scaringe, CEO of Rivian Automotive was way behind Musk but still with an enormous paycheck of $2.3 billion last year. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who heads the most valuable and cash-rich company in the world, pulled in $853 million in 2021, while Peter Rawlinson CEO/CTO of California-based Lucid Motors earned $575 million.

Elon Musk was the highest paid CEO last year with more than $10 billion in earnings

Last year, Elon Musk earned more than $10 million and was the most highly compensated CEO

Next highest paid chief executive was Robert Scaringe, CEO of Rivian Automotive, who made about fives times less than Musk with $2.3 billion

Robert Scaringe CEO of Rivian Automotive was next in line for highest compensation. His salary was about five-times less than Musk’s $2.3 billion.

Although nine-figure packages of compensation were not common in the past, they seem to be increasing.

The packages are often made up from salary, bonus, stock awards, stock option awards, deferred compensation and other components that include benefits and perks. 

Some companies can get big raises when their CEO receives a stock grant within one year of receiving a multiyear grant.

Apple's Tim Cook came in third place with $853 million in compensation

Apple’s Tim Cook finished third, with $853 Million in compensation

Peter Rawlinson CEO/CTO of California-based Lucid Motors earned $575 million

Tom Siebel CEO of software company C3.ai banked $343 million

Left: Peter Rawlinson, CEO/CTO at Lucid Motors in California earned $575 Million. Tom Siebel, CEO and CTO of C3.ai Software Company earned $343 million.

The highest placed female CEO, Sue Nabi of global beauty company Coty, made $283m

Sue Nabi (global beauty company Coty), was named the female CEO with highest rank and earned $283m

In fifth place Tom Siebel CEO of software company C3.ai banked $343 million, while the highest placed female CEO, Sue Nabi of global beauty company Coty, made $283 million.

She will be able to own roughly 3% of the company in 2023 after she has received all her share options.

The company released a statement saying that Nabi was “one of the top founder talent in the beauty industry: A hugely respected business leader, with an excellent track record,”. Coty had to offer enticing equity to her in order to lure a true entrepreneur such as herself. 

The numbers start to get closer as you move up from seventh.   

Joe Bae CEO of KKR private equity made $279 million in 2021 while Tomer Weingarten the CEO of cybersecurity firm SentinelOne earned $275 million, placing him eighth in the list. 

At ninth, Alex Karp CEO of Palantir Technologies made $264 million while Sid Sijbrandij, the CEO of GitLab, both software companies rounded out the top ten with earnings of $263 million. 

Alex Karp CEO of Palantir Technologies, left, made $264m

Sid Sijbrandij, the CEO of GitLab, both software companies rounded out the top ten with earnings of $263 million

Alex Karp CEO at Palantir Technologies was ninth. Sid Sijbrandij (CEO of GitLab), was 10th with an earnings of $264 million.

Payouts for CEO’s exceeding $15 billion are the highest. More than 30 executives of public companies secured pay deals in excess of $100 million according to the Bloomberg Pay Index.

It is possible that the value of the 2022 list may be lower due to the fall in the stock market, rising interest rates and high inflation. All of these factors have direct consequences on the salaries of highly compensated personnel. 

While the market may fluctuate, CEOs’ salaries continue to climb. 

Chief executives are often the most highly paid workers in any organization, sometimes earning more than 1,000x what an average employee. 

‘It’s another version of ‘more for them and less for us, and it comes at a time when working people’s living standards have declined with every increase in the price of food, rent and gas,’ said Fred Redmond, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

The AFL-CIO’s annual survey of executive pay described such exorbitant payout as ‘greedflation’ noting how the average salary for a S&P 500 CEO rose 18% in the past fiscal year to $18.3 million – some 324 times a typical worker at the same companies.

The majority of all the pay CEOs receive comes from stock awards, as boards try to tie executive compensation more to shareholder returns

Most CEOs get their pay from stock awards. Boards are trying to link executive compensation to shareholder returns more.

In 2021, Executives and CEOs with the highest salaries will be amongst the most successful. 

Rank  Nom                        Company                   Total

1         Elon Musk                   Tesla                        $10,077,116,351

2        Robert Scaringe       Rivian                      $2,289,370,481 

3        Tim Cook                    Apple                       $853,780,236 

4       Peter Rawlinson       Lucid                         $575,681,738

5       Tom Siebel                  C3.ai                         $343,925,146 

6       Sue Nabi                      Coty                          $283,791,455 

7       Joe Bae                         KKR                           $279,100,653  

8       Tomer Weingarten   SentinelOne          $275,775,959 

9       Alex Karp                     Palantir                    $264,229,473

10       Sid Sijbrandij           GitLab                      $263,703,427  

11       Alex Rodrigues         Embark                   $252,467,967 

12       Scott Nuttall             KKR                           $233,349,930 

13       Brian Armstrong     Coinbase                $218,090,453

14       Jimmy Levin             Sculptor Capital   $200,053,339

The pay of CEOs is difficult to understand.

Only a fraction of the 8- to 9-figure salaries that CEOs receive each year is actually cash.

 Last year, only a little more than a quarter of compensation for the typical CEO at an S&P 500 company came from cash salary or bonus. Cash may make up as little as 1% of total compensation for the highest ranking executives.

Instead, most CEO’s compensation comes from stock or stock option grants, which allow them to acquire stock at a future price. 

It’s usually intentional because shareholders advocates push for CEO salaries to be closer aligned with shareholder returns.

Because of that, exactly how much a CEO is able to cash in will ultimately depend in part on the performance of the company — and the CEO.

Melissa Burek (a partner at Compensation Advisory Partners), a consultancy firm that assists boards in formulating executive pay, said, ‘There has been so much progress in the last decade in getting performance and pay decisions right.’ “I think we are more aware of these issues.

In companies’ annual proxy reports, numbers indicating grants of options and stocks are used to indicate their estimated value.

The people ultimately in charge of setting CEO pay are the ones on the company’s board of directors. Those directors are supposed to represent all of a company’s shareholders, who get some voice in the process.