As more companies filed proxy statements with the SEC in the last month, Food Dive examined how food and beverage CEOs were compensated in 2015.
Major food and beverage manufacturers have been making sweeping changes in recent years as they adapt to the consumer health trend away from processed foods. Based on Food Dive's analysis of data gleaned from 14 companies' proxy statements, however, industry trends seem to have had little to no impact on CEO salaries or total compensation across the board. But company performances and overhauls did play a role for certain executives' paydays.
Some quick takeaways:
- Total annual compensation jumped 138.8% for one executive...
- ...and sank 42% for another, reflecting the up and down revenues and earnings for food and beverage companies.
- Fluctuations in compensation were on an individual company basis, tied to financials or other internal changes.
Biggest packages overall for 2015
The biggest payday for the food and beverage CEOs on this list came by far from the country's leading food and beverage company, PepsiCo with $63 billion in net revenue for 2015. CEO Indra Nooyi's total 2015 compensation was just under $26.5 million, a 17.6% increase from 2014, though the company's annual revenue fell 5% in 2015 (organic revenue was up 5%). Nooyi's focus on innovation in a time of flux for the soda and snack segments helps to establish her value to PepsiCo's board. The company made an ingredients announcement this week when it became the latest manufacturer to commit to using 100% cage-free eggs in North America.
The No. 2 earner on this list at $19.7 million is Mondelez’s Irene Rosenfeld. That high ranking is despite a 6.5% hit to Rosenfeld's compensation after the company's 2015 revenue fell 13.5% to $29.64 billion, mainly due to currency headwinds and the spin-off of its coffee business. Rosenfeld has felt pressure from investors in recent years but has continued to lead her company to increased profitability. That includes a 174.4% increase in 2015 operating income, during a booming time for snack makers and increased competition.
Notably, the two highest-paid CEOs on this list in terms of total compensation were women. Women are still the minority among food and beverage executives, but the three women on this list, which also included Campbell's Denise Morrison ($9.4 million), were named in the top 25 of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list at the end of last year.
Coca-Cola's Muhtar Kent took the No. 3 highest-paid slot at $14.6 million, even though his total compensation took a major hit last year (which we'll get to in a moment).
Pay bumps and pay cuts
Pay raises and pay cuts took place across the board.
On the pay raise end, Dean Foods' Gregg Tanner ended 2015 with a 138.8% increase to his total compensation over 2014, reaching $7.6 million in 2015. Most aspects of his compensation remained unchanged from 2014 except for his non-equity incentive plan, with a $4.4 million boost over last year. According to an SEC filing, Dean Foods surpassed its 2015 Bank EBITDA target by 200%, and that performance metric was reflected in Tanner's non-equity incentive plan.
Kraft Heinz's Bernardo Hees enjoyed a 90.8% pay bump after his company H.J. Heinz Co. surged in profitability thanks to zero-based budgeting and then merged with Kraft Foods last year. His increase came mainly from $2.9 million in option awards, a significant increase over $542,000 in 2014.
Nooyi's increase in total compensation was primarily due to an additional $2 million from her non-equity incentive plan, nearly $1 million from changes to her pension value, and about a $750,000 increase in stock awards over 2014.
The 42% cut to 2015 total compensation for Coca-Cola's Muhtar Kent has been the biggest news in CEO pay for this year, but the change was to be expected. His base salary remained unchanged, while most of the reduction was from options and stock awards. The latter in particular was a move to appease investors, who were concerned about dilution of their shares' values.
2015 was also a "transition year" for the company that reflected its "increased focus on driving top-line and bottom-line growth," Coca-Cola board member Maria Elena Lagomasino said in a blog post outlining the 2016 proxy statement.
Hershey's John Bilbrey also took a notable pay cut, dropping 39.2% to $10.8 million in total compensation. The decrease mainly stemmed from a $4.85 million drop in Bilbrey's pension plan value and non-qualified deferred compensation in addition to drops in stock and option awards from 2014 levels.
But what about salary?
While total compensation for a handful of CEOs changed significantly, for the most part, their salaries remained steady — no surprise there. As is typical, other awards, incentive plans, and pension values were the primary drivers for those fluctuations.
Three of the four highest salaries went also to the three CEOs who received the highest total compensation, but the 2015 salary for Monsanto's Hugh Grant came in just above Rosenfeld and Kent’s even $1.6 million salaries.
Across the board, the average of these CEO's salaries was just under $1.2 million.
Nearly half of the CEOs on this list saw no change in salary from the previous year. Dean Foods' Tanner saw the biggest salary increase at 8%.
Monsanto's Grant had a 6.4% salary increase, though his non-equity incentive pay took a hit due to the company's poor performance in earnings per share and net sales. Both fell in 2015 as a result of declines in commodity prices.
2016 could be a tumultuous year for the industry with GMO labeling standards on the docket, the continued push toward healthier foods and beverages, increased competition from startups, and the continuation of mergers and acquisitions. These factors could potentially impact CEO compensation changes this year.