Lisa Su has become the first woman ever to top the Associated Press’ annual survey of CEO compensation with a pay package valued at US$58.5 million last year. Su is the CEO of Advanced Micro Devices, a company with a market value of US$53.250.4 million in March 2020.
Su’s figure was US$13 million higher than the top-paid male CEO, David Zaslav of Discovery, whose compensation in 2019 was the highest in the state of Maryland in the US, at $45.8 million.
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Su’s Santa Monica based microprocessors company came in at number 448 in this year’s Fortune 500 list, and she was only one of 37 women to make the list.
The data and technology tools company, Equilar conducted the analysis for the Associated Press. The analysis only includes CEOs in the S&P 500 index who have been in the role for at least two full years. The analysis calculated salary, stock awards, stock option awards and other pay components including bonuses and perks.
The first analysis commission by the Associated Press was conducted in 2011 and has since been a yearly survey of the salaries of S&P 500 CEOs. A total of 20 women were on the latest list, compared with 309 men, indicating the perpetual underrepresentation of women at only 5 percent.
“Women are making incremental progress achieving leadership positions in the C-suite,” said Lorraine Hariton, President & CEO of Catalyst, an NGO focused on women in the workplace, told The Hour women still face entrenched barriers and are often stuck in middle management.
“However, the fact remains that women CEOs still represent a disproportionately small share of corporate leadership, and women of colour aren’t represented at all.”
Su’s compensation was more than double the next two highest-paid women CEOs on the list. Lockheed Martin’s CEO at Marillyn Hewson received $24.4 million and General Motors Co.’s Mary Barra received $21.3 million.
Other women who topped their states included Constance Lau of Hawaiian Electric Industries, at $4.2 million, the highest in the state of Hawaii, and Patricia Collawn of PNM Resources, at $5 million, the highest in the state of New Mexico.
Last year, Su’s compensation was less than a quarter of her latest sum, due in part by rewards for performance, which included $53 million in stock awards and $3 million in stock options, vested over several years. The analysis also showed a 4.1 precent increase in median pay for CEOs compared with the previous year, with a 2.3 percent increase for median pay for women on the list. The median pay for men increased by 5.4 percent.
Su was born in Taiwan and studied electrical engineering at MIT in Boston. She has been CEO of AMD since 2014 and last month, was elected as a new member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Since taking reins of the company, AMD’s stock has risen from roughly $3 to about $55, and the company was the top performing stock in the S&P 500 in both 2018 and 2019.
Su is the daughter of Chun-Hwai Su, a statistician and Sandy Su, an accountant turned entrepreneur. She and her family emigrated from Taiwan to the US when Su was 3-years old. Su went on to obtain a Masters and PhD at MIT in Boston.
Last year, Su was named one of The Bloomberg 50, a list of the most influential leaders in finance, fashion, technology, and trade. Su’s uncle is Taiwanese billionaire Jen-Hsun Huang – CEO of Nvidia Corporation, a gaming, AI, computer chip manufacturer and tech company that invented the first graphics processor chip in 1991.