Ahrendts is queen of executives

Angela Ahrendts
Angela Ahrendts

ANGELA Ahrendts, Apple Inc’s senior vice-president of retail and online stores, was the highest-paid female executive in the US last year.

The former CEO of London-based fashion retailer Burberry Group Plc was awarded US$82,6 million in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ahrendts (54) joined the world’s most-valuable company in May 2014 and became the first woman on its management team.

Ahrendts’ pay included a sign-on bonus and a make-whole grant for awards left behind at Burberry. The pay package is currently valued at US$105,5 million. Josh Rosenstock, a spokesman for Apple, wouldn’t comment on her compensation.

Yahoo! Inc’s Marissa Mayer was the country’s highest-paid female CEO. The 39-year-old was awarded US$59,1 million in 2014, making her number three among the eight women on the Bloomberg Pay Index, a daily ranking of the top-paid US executives.

Her compensation, more than 95 percent of which is comprised of stock and options, has fallen in value to US$45 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Yahoo announced in January that it planned to spin off its remaining investment in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, which had bolstered the California-based company’s stock last year. Mayer is under pressure to create shareholder value without it.

“There’s a limited number of people who are viewed as having those skill sets, and you have to pay for it,” said David Doyle, an executive compensation lawyer at Day Pitney LLP.

Yahoo spokeswoman Rebecca Neufeld declined to comment.

Oracle Corp’s Safra Catz was second on the ranking after being awarded US$71,2 million in fiscal 2014 for her role as chief financial officer. Catz was named co-CEO after the California-based company’s fiscal 2014 year ended.

In connection to her promotion, she received 500 000 options and 125 000 performance stock units, according to a September filing.

Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger declined to comment.

The Bloomberg pay ranking also calculates pay-for-performance using an executive’s compensation as a percentage of a company’s economic profit, defined as after-tax net operating profit minus its cost of capital. By that measure, Apple’s Ahrendts delivered the best rating among all women on the ranking.

Her pay is equal to 0,3 percent of the California-based company’s US$28,6 billion three-year average economic profit.

Lockheed Martin Corp CEO Marillyn Hewson delivered the third-best dollar-for-dollar performance among the women on the index. The defence contractor’s quarterly revenue has slumped 16 percent since she took over the Bethesda, Maryland-based company in January 2013, and earnings have risen more than 54 percent.

Larisa Cioaca, a spokeswoman for Lockheed, declined to comment.

Hewson’s 2014 pay, valued at US$36,7 million at year end, is 2,9 percent of Lockheed’s three-year average economic profit of US$1,28 billion.

“She’s well-respected by her customers, and that goes a long way when you have programmes that periodically face challenges,” said Howard Rubel, an analyst with Jefferies LLC.

Other female executives on the ranking include Mylan NV CEO Heather Bresch, who was awarded US$40 million, and Martine Rothblatt, co-CEO and chairman of United Therapeutics Corp, with US$33,3 million in awarded pay.

Executives including Facebook Inc COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter Inc general counsel Vijaya Gadde have previously been on the ranking. The current value of their awarded pay – US$17,6 million and US$5,8 million, respectively – has dropped them from the index. – Bloomberg

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