- Elon Musk was the highest paid US chief executive for the third year in a row.
- He earned $6.7 billion in 2020, per Bloomberg's Pay Index, which ranks CEO pay at publicly traded firms.
- Musk earned paper billions however, since his compensation comprised options awards.
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Tesla's self-styled "Technoking" Elon Musk received $6.66 billion in compensation in 2020, nearly twelve times more than America's second highest-paid CEO, according to Bloomberg's annual Pay Index.
2020's second highest-paid executive was Mike Pykosz, CEO of Oak Street Health, who received $568 million.
Musk hasn't received his billions in cash. His compensation was comprised of option awards, giving him the right to acquire Tesla shares at a set price.
The EV maker's surging stock price through 2020 puts Musk at the top of Bloomberg's list for the third year in a row and is an increase his estimated 2019 compensation of $595 million. Pykosz's compensation comprised a salary, bonus, stock awards, option awards, and perks.
The Bloomberg Pay Index is a yearly tally of the highest paid executives leading publicly traded US companies. It is compiled using regulatory filings submitted to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
It includes salary, performance, and discretionary bonuses, pension as well as the value of any stock options or grants received within the year. Deferred compensation is also included.
The top 10 features executives from 7 different companies, and is entirely comprised of men. GoodRX Holdings' co-ceos Trevor Bezdek and Douglas Hirsch sit third and fourth, each receiving more than $497 million, primarily through stock awards.
Pykosz is one of three Oak Street Health executives on the list, alongside COO Geoffrey Price in 7th ($356 million) and CMO Griffin Myers in 9th ($221 million).
Apple's Tim Cook fell to 8th - down from second on last year's list - with compensation of $265 million. Opendoor CEO Eric Wu, Palantir's Alex Karp and Paycom Software's Chad Richison are in 5th, 6th, and 10th respectively.
All, other than Musk and Karp, received the majority of their remuneration through stock awards.
A separate study, conducted by the New York Times and Equilar, listed Palantir boss Karp as the highest paid executive on the basis of how his pay compared to the average pay of his employees.
According to Bloomberg, the typical CEO among America's 1,000 biggest listed companies receives 144 times the pay of their median employees.
Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren tabled a bill in March aimed at punishing firms who pay their executives excessively more than workers.
It propose a 0.5 percentage point tax increase for firms that pay their leaders between 50 to 100 times more than the average worker. Those who paid leaders 500 times more would face a 5 percentage point tax rise.
In February, Musk temporarily overtook Amazon's Jeff Bezos as the world's richest man, with an estimated net worth of $200 billion.