Top 3 Highest Paid Software CEOs

While media companies tend to crowd lists of the top paid CEOs, executives at the world’s leading technology companies aren’t far behind.

Often, due to the imprecise art of valuing stock options, there can be a significant disparity between what companies say they pay their executives and what they actually get. By changing certain assumptions, awards disclosed in regulatory filings can appear smaller than they are in reality.

Below are three of the top paid leaders in the high growth software space as it benefits from a shift to cloud computing and subscription models, increased enterprise spending, and a need for comprehensive, integrated technology solutions. The list is based on compensation received in 2017 for the previous year.

Mark Hurd, Oracle Corp. Co-CEO, $41.1 million

Hurd became co-CEO of Oracle in September 2014, when founder Larry Ellison stepped down from the role, and serves on the board of directors. While he is paid the same base salary and equity pay as co-CEO Safra Catz, his cash compensation is calculated as higher due to the cost of certain perks, according to a Equilar report. Before joining the Redwood City, Calif.-based tech giant, Hurd served as chairman, CEO and president of Hewlett-Packard before resigning in 2010. He also serves on the Board of Directors at Menlo Park-based startup Globality Inc.

Safra Catz, Oracle Corp. Co-CEO, $40.9 million

Catz has also served as co-CEO of Oracle since September 2014 and is a member on the board. Earning her position as one of the world’s highest paid female executives, she is credited with championing Oracle’s aggressive acquisition strategy, in which the firm has closed over 100 acquisitions since 2005. She has been with the software behemoth for nearly 20 years, holding various positions such as Chief Financial Officer, and is one of Ellison’s closest friends. Catz also serves as a director of The Walt Disney Co.

Ginney Rometty, International Business Machines Corp. CEO, $32.3 million

Virginia Rometty has been at the helm of IBM since 2012 and has spent 36 years with the firm. Last year, the company was criticized for her hefty compensation package, after five years of declining revenue and a less than 0.1% return to shareholders. According to a report by Bloomberg, citing proxy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services, Rommetty’s 2016 package may have exceeded $50 million, based on its own estimate for the value of her options at the time they were granted. Bloomberg pegged her compensation at $65 million. After 21 consecutive quarters of declining revenue growth, in October, IBM had its best earnings in almost nine years as Rometty continues to spearhead its transformation plan.