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Board Compensation: A Little Estrogen Goes a Long Way

men-and-women-and-money.jpgApproximately 91% of S&P 500 companies have at least one woman on the board, according to executive search firm Spencer Stuart, and, on average, those women are bringing in about $15,000 more annually than their male counterparts. The Corporate Library's annual pay survey indicated that median total compensation for male corporate directors is $104,375, whereas female directors (on average) bring in $120,000.

Why the discrepancy? Contrary to what you may think, it has nothing to do with diversity. Paul Hodgson, senior research associate for The Corporate Library, theorizes that boards may assign women to multiple committees in an attempt to get more women across the board -- and since fees paid to committee members differ, this could account for the difference.

A few more facts:

  • Overall median total compensation for all directors rose 12% from the year prior to $100,031.
  • More than 80 directors made more than $1 million in total compensation for a single board seat, up from 18 identified last year.
  • The two most highly paid directors who weren't chairmen or former CEOs are Crocs' Thomas Smach ($5,479,347) and John Gillespie, a director at White Mountains Insurance Group ($4,390,699).
  • Nine out of the 25 most highly paid directors this year are also former CEOs; some compensation left over from the executive suite may contribute to their status.
  • The median cash fee for directors was highest in the food products industry, at $75,000, with the aerospace & defense, petroleum products, and gambling industries not far behind.
  • The median total compensation for judges, at $344,953, was the highest among directors with titles. Knights are next, at $164,636. Medical doctors bring in the least, with a median of $105,181.
(Men, Women and Money image courtesy of mahalie, cc 2.0)
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