CFO pay on the rise as role becomes more strategic: 8 key points

Total direct compensation for CFOs at 159 companies in the S&P 500 increased a median of 6.7 percent in 2014 compared to 5.6 percent the year prior, according to a recent Mercer report.

Here are eight key points about CFO pay.

1. Short-term incentives for CFOs increased a median of 8 percent in 2014, and CFO base salary increased a median of 3.2 percent. Although these pay elements also increased in 2013, growth rates were generally lower across the board, according to Mercer.

2. The median base salary for CFOs at the 159 companies in the S&P 500 increased to $624,000 in 2014.

3. The median base salary for CFOs at S&P 100 companies grew to nearly $800,000 in 2014, according to Mercer.

4. Long-term incentives for CFOs increased a median of 7.2 percent to nearly $1.8 million in 2014.

5. CFOs at S&P 100 companies received median long-term incentives of $4.1 million, while CFOs at the other 400 companies received median long-term incentives of $1.5 million.

6. As a percentage of median CEO pay, compensation for CFOs increased to 35 percent in 2014, compared to 32 percent in 2012, according to Mercer.

7. Regarding the pay gap between CEOs and CFOs shrinking, Ted Jarvis, global director of executive compensation data, research and publications at Mercer, said, "A number of factors are likely at play, but the chief impetus may be pressure on the CFO position due to increased regulatory requirements and focus on financial risk."

8. Mr. Jarvis also said the narrowing gap may be due to the role of CFO being viewed increasingly as a strategic one. He said the prestige of the CFO role has risen since the onset of the current economic recovery.

Mercer’s analysis is based on compensation data from 32 S&P 100 companies and 127 other companies in the S&P 500. In 2014, median revenue for these companies was nearly $11.7 million.

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