The companies included in this break-down are: PepsiCo, Kellogg, General Mills, Kraft, ConAgra and Sara Lee.
As detailed in the charts below, CEO basic salaries in these six leading food firms in 2008 ranged from $843,333 earned by Kendall Powell of General Mills to $1,452,231 earned by Kraft’s Irene Rosenfeld.
Basic salaries are based on a combination of factors, with the firms considering what their peers are paying executives, the experience of the individual and how long they have been at the company.
However, the numbers undergo major shifts when the full pay pack is taken into account, including bonuses, annual or long-term incentives, stock awards and equity awards.
In fact, a CEO’s basic salary often makes up as little as 10 percent of the total compensation, with long-term incentives often accounting for as much as 70 percent.
For example, the salary of PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi increased by over 900 percent to reach $13.4m when all the add-ons were accounted for. ConAgra’s Gary Rodkin’s basic salary rose by 1158 percent.
Although General Mills CEO Kendall Powell received the lowest total earnings in 2008 of $6.5m, the company paid out a further $18.6m to former CEO and chairman Stephen Sanger, who retired from the former position in September 2007 and from the latter in May 2008.
Also of note is a hefty increased in total pay received by Sara Lee’s Brenda Barnes this year. In 2008, Barnes earned a total of $9.3m, whereas is 2009 her total salary was recorded as $15.3m (2009 figures are still unavailable for some of the companies in this analysis).
All figures are taken from companies' regulatory filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.