The 10 Highest Paid CEOs

For us common folk, it’s hard to even imagine life as one of the members of the top 1-percent. The term “rich” is simply an understatement when it comes to these folks, some of whom hold a net worth higher than the GDP of some small countries! As the world continues to expand and grow, the top companies continue to innovate, driving up the salaries of their chief executives. Although there has always been controversy about the lucrative amount that the top leaders are being paid, we can all agree that life is treating them very well. Today, we’ll be exploring some of the highest-paid CEOs in terms of salaries and benefits in the world!

10 Jeff Bezos

Number one on the list, unsurprisingly, is Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, widely known as the founder of Amazon. Although his listed salary is technically a very modest $81,840, sources estimate that the actual amount that Bezos brings in annually is $78.5 billion! The reason for his massive fortune lies in Bezos’ ownership of a whopping 16 percent of Amazon stocks. However, he spends relatively little on luxury compared to the others on the top list. In fact, he’s known to drive a beat-up Honda Accord. Given that Bezos started the company from pennies in a garage, it makes sense that he tends to hold on tightly to his fortune.

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9 Mark Zuckerberg

Many would consider Facebook to be the social media sensation of the century, launching the world into a new digital era. Although its creator Mark Zuckerberg technically holds a legal salary of one dollar per year, he earns much, much more than that due to his holdings in the company, as well as his compensation and benefits as CEO. The legendary founder adds approximately $9 billion to his bank account every year. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are very generous philanthropists, spending billions on funding research and education. Although Zuckerberg doesn’t like to waste money on other luxuries, he did purchase some very high-tech homes.

8 Elon Musk

Not only is the iconic Elon Musk known for Tesla, but he’s also famous for PayPal, SpaceX, and his occasional funny tweets. Similar to others on the top list, Musk claims the minimum wage for his state as his salary. However, his holdings and benefits as CEO bring home much, much more than the meager $40,000 California minimum. Although Musk’s earnings differ wildly from year to year and there are many estimates, about $500 million is the average provided by Investopedia. However, it doesn’t really matter what his yearly earnings are, as the man will never have to worry with a net worth of over $20 billion.

7 Brendan Kennedy

Brendan Kennedy is known for his work with medical cannabis. Both of his establishments, Tilray and Privateer Holdings, deal with investment and access to the medical cannabis industry. Tilray has seen huge success since its formation, becoming the first Canadian industry to legally export medical cannabis into the United States. As the CEO, Kennedy hauls in an impressive $256 million in total compensation. Kennedy is still extremely active in his company’s success and continues to invest in the medical cannabis industry with his earnings. In his free time, Kennedy skips out on outrageously luxurious pursuits and instead makes pancakes for his kids.

6 Bob Iger

If you’re into Disney movies, then you probably know that the current CEO is Bob Iger. The man technically controls the Marvel Entertainment company, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox, and plenty of other assets that are in conjunction with Disney as a whole. Iger is accordingly compensated by the millions, with his official pay package being $65.6 million. However, his overall compensation and benefits go all the way up to $140 million, an insanely high amount, and about 1400 times that of an average Disney employee. Bob Iger is very active in his role as CEO, investing in new resorts, franchises, and other potential money-makers for the company.

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5 Tim Cook

While Steve Jobs is the one people think of when they use Apple products, the current CEO is Tim Cook, who joined Apple in the late ‘90s. Cook has improved cybersecurity, environmental preservation, and the expansion of the company. The new CEO’s official salary is about $15 million, but benefits and stocks boost his yearly compensation to a jaw-dropping $141.6 million instead. Tim Cook spends his money donating to political campaigns and in his capacity as a signer to the Giving Pledge, a program that encourages philanthropy amongst the wealthy. Cook reportedly has great plans for Apple’s future and hints that Apple’s greatest contribution will be to human health.

4 David Zaslav

Remember watching the race between the zebra and the lion on Animal Planet? The man behind this channel and a plethora of others is currently David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Inc. The mass media company is infamous for its productions on Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and even Food Network. Generations of Americans have been enriched culturally and scientifically because of this establishment. As a result of the company’s success, Zaslav brings home $3 million base pay, plus several million in stock options, as well as a $100 million retention award, making his grand total $122 million for 2018.

3 James Heppelmann

Although not as famous as Apple, Disney, and other companies on the list, PTC Inc. is a major software company pulling in over a billion dollars in revenue a year. As the CEO of this huge global technology company, James Heppelmann gets over $70 million a year for himself, most of it coming from his position as a major shareholder and his performance grants. Prior to working with PTC, Jim was already doing big things as the co-founder of Windchill Technology Inc. and went to PTC when it purchased Windchill. Today, his overall net worth is estimated to be at least $121 million big ones.

2 Stephen Schwarzman

Stephen Schwarzman is a very talented leader and investor with a net worth of over $13 billion. He is the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group, multinational private equity and financial services firm. His company holds total assets valuing at over $470 billion, making it one of the most successful financial services firms in the world. Schwarzman himself hauls in approximately $70 million every year, although he's received more than $785 million due to additional dividends and interest. Throughout his life, Schwarzman has been an active philanthropist, donating $100 million towards New York’s public library, another $100 million towards scholarships in China, and countless other deeds of generosity.

1 Stephen Angel


Industrial gases are crucial to various developments throughout human history, such as mining, medicine, biotech, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and electronics. The largest industrial gas company, Linde PLC, is headed by a man by the name of Stephen Angel. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Angel makes for a phenomenal CEO to one of the world’s most important companies. In 2018, Angel pulled in a very impressive $66.1 million for himself, most of which is due to a severance payout as well as stock and option awards. Stephen Angel’s net worth is estimated to be at least $149 million in 2019.

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