AMD’s Lisa Su was the highest-paid CEO of a company in the S&P 500 last year.
She is the first woman to top the annual review, compiled by the Associated Press and executive compensation analysis firm Equilar, since it began in 2011
Su earned a total of $58.5 million in 2019 – almost $13 million more than the next-highest paid CEO, Discovery Inc (DISCB)’s David Zaslav, who earned $45.8 million. The study, released last week, examined compensation for CEOs of S&P 500 (SPX) companies who had been in their roles for at least two years as of the end of 2019.
Because the study looked at compensation packages from 2019, the results do not reflect the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, which has pushed many executives to forgo some or all of their compensation.
Su’s compensation was up sharply from the year prior — she made $13.4 million in 2018 — thanks largely to a one-time, performance-based stock award. In 2019, she earned $1 million in base salary and a $1.2 million performance-based bonus.
After taking the helm at AMD in 2014, Su took a company on the verge of financial ruin and turned it into a top performer in the S&P 500 and a formidable competitor to Intel. The semiconductor company is now creating the technology to power cloud computing and gaming computers.
During 2019 alone, AMD’s stock grew by 156%.
Su’s bold bets helped turn the company around. Her success is a “once-in-a-generation thing,” Rosenblatt Securities managing director Hans Mosesmann said in an interview late last year.
Su is one of a handful of women leading big tech companies and is one among 20 women who made the Equilar list, which featured a total of 329 executives. Also included in that 20 are Lockheed Martin (LMT)’s Marillyn Hewson, General Motors (GM)’ Mary Barra and former IBM (IBM) CEO Ginni Rometty, who stepped down in April.
The study showed median compensation for female executives was $13.9 million, compared to $12.3 million for male executives, though there were far fewer women than men on the list.
More broadly, the study found that median compensation for all executives surveyed reached $12.3 million, up 4.1% from 2018, though the growth rate was slower than the previous two years.