The salaries of big bosses have doubled in one year

According to a study by the firm Scalens published these days, the bosses of the 40 largest valuations on the Paris Stock Exchange have seen their remuneration double in the space of a year.

The remuneration of CAC 40 bosses averaged 8.7 million euros in 2021, according to calculations by the service platform for listed companies Scalens. That is double 2020, a special year marked by the Covid. But the average remuneration of big bosses is also progressing compared to another good vintage, namely 2019.

The boss of a large company has a fixed part in his salary, and a variable part which depends on the financial results of the group. However, 2021 was a very good year, marked by a strong economic recovery, which inevitably led to substantial bonuses and rising variable portions. But this does not explain everything. There are many new bosses within the select club of the CAC 40, a young generation of managers who have granted themselves substantial salary increases: +19% last year, according to the firm.

The CAC has gained almost 30% in one year. Stocks – since the bosses are also paid in shares – have ballooned. So many elements that help to explain this surge in their remuneration.

Some amounts are shocking, even within the general meetings of shareholders which must validate the amounts of executive compensation each year. The annual 19 billion euros of Carlos Tavares, the boss of Stellantis (born from the merger of Fiat Chrystler and PSA Peugeot Citroen) was disapproved by the GA. Except that the headquarters of Stellantis is now in the Netherlands. And there, the vote is only consultative.

In France, this is no longer the case since a similar vote against the remuneration of another automobile boss: a certain Carlos Ghosn, at the time boss of Renault. That was in 2016. Since then, French law has changed. The shareholder vote is now binding, ie the board of directors is obliged to take it into account. The GA season which is starting at the moment promises to be agitated.

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