Twenty four of the top 200 highest paid CEOs in America – almost one in every eight – run companies headquartered in the Bay Area. Collectively these two dozen head honchos were given cash, stock, and options awards worth $563,362,711 in 2014. That’s roughly equal to what 22,000 full-time minimum wage workers will make in Oakland this year. (Oakland’s minimum wage is one of the highest in the nation at $12.25 an hour.)
[jump] Some local businesses and politicians objected to the minimum wage increase in Oakland because it was 36 percent increase in wages over a single year. Opponents said the the jump was too big, too fast, and that it would sap the economy.
But Oakland’s 36 percent minimum wage increase is a paltry pay raise compared to what the fifth highest paid executive in the nation got last year: Nicholas Woodman, the CEO of GoPro, saw his total compensation jump from $1.8 million in 2013 to $77 million in 2014. That’s a roughly 4,000 percent pay increase. Zachary Nelson of Netsuite, a San Mateo software maker, was given a 153 percent pay increase, and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo was given a 69 percent raise.
A few Bay Area CEOs saw their pay drop from 2013 to 2014, but overall the combined pay of these twenty-four executives went up by 39 percent. It will probably come as no surprise that fifteen of the Bay Area’s top twenty-four CEOs lead tech companies. Four lead biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, two lead financial firms, two run consumer or retail corporations, and one leads the oil giant Chevron.