The Ethos Foundation recently published a list of Switzerland’s highest paid employees in 2015. The figures are striking and may leave some wondering what someone would do with such large sums.
Ethos looks at the pay of the managers of the 204 largest companies listed on the Swiss stock exchange. Ethos‘ members are Swiss pension funds and institutions. The organisation was founded in 1997 to promote socially responsible investment, and a stable and prosperous socio-economic environment that safeguards the interests of civil society.
At the top of the pay pile is Severin Schwan, the boss of the pharmaceuticals giant Roche. He was paid CHF 15.6 million francs in 2015. In second place was UBS boss, Sergio Ermotti, who took home CHF 14.3 million.
Food giant Nestlé, with its head office in Vevey, paid the third-highest reward of CHF 11.7 million to executive Paul Bulcke.
Fourth on the list was Joe Jimenez, the head of Novartis who received CHF 11.6 million. Fifth was Jeremy Thigpen, boss of the struggling oil rig operator, Transocean. He was paid CHF 10.5 million. Luxury goods maker, Richement’s, co-heads, Bernard Fornas, paid CHF 9.7 million, and Richard Lepeu, paid CHF 9.68 million, grabbed 6th and 7th spots.
Daniel O’Day, also from Roche, and Ulrich Spiesshofer, the head of ABB, both pocketed CHF 9.1 million in 2015, coming in 8th equal. And another Novartis manager David Epstein, completed the list of the ten best paid.
The Ethos’ study shows the combined pay of managers of Swiss-listed companies increased 2% in 2015. Average pay for the bosses of the 20 companies included in the SMI (index) was CHF 7.2 million. The report also noted that they found no systematic link between pay and company performance. For example, there was no drop in bonuses at half of companies with declining operating margins.
On the other hand, 57% of Swiss listed companies say they plan to publish limits on variable pay, and in most cases this pay will be set at no more than three times fixed pay, in line with Ethos’ recommendations. In addition, fewer and fewer companies offer variable pay to Board members.