When CEOs had compensation that was significantly higher than the next most highly paid executive, or when they were paid significantly more than other firms of a similar size and risk, performance and dividends tended to be lower than average.
However, the effect of CEO self-interest was mitigated by powerful company boards, said study author Katalin Haynes.
"Some CEOs appear to direct more of the firm's resources toward themselves than others and this can occur more when managers have a lot of discretion or have a short tenure, or if the board is weak," said Haynes. "Interestingly, we found that the negative effects of executive greed on shareholder wealth decrease as CEOs experience more time in their role."
According to Equilar, the highest paid CEOs in publicly traded American firms are:
- Charif Souki, Cheniere Energy, $141,949,280
- Mario Gabelli, GAMCO Investors, $85,049,800
- Lawrence Ellison, Oracle, $78,440,657
- Leslie Moonves, CBS, $65,589,245
- W Nicholas Howley, TransDigm Group, $64,214,656
- Don Mattrick, Zynga, $57,814,391
- Richard Adkerson, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, $55,260,539
- Jeffrey Weiner, LinkedIn, $49,071,364
- Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor, $39,014,227
- Phillipe Dauman, Viacom, $37,186,099
Watch how much your CEOs are getting compensated: if it seems excessive, it could well be affecting firm performance, according to an analysis of more than 300 publicly traded firms by the University of Delaware.