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2022 S&P 500 Compensation Snapshot

September 2022

The 2022 S&P 500 Compensation Snapshot highlights data and year-over-year changes in director compensation among S&P 500 boards. It also includes 10-year and even 20-year comparisons to provide context for some of today’s most significant trends, which reveals where small annual incremental shifts are part of more significant long-term changes. Here are highlights from the report.

  • The average total compensation for S&P 500 directors is $316,091 (excluding compensation for the independent chair), representing an increase of around 3% from $305,808 in 2021.
  • Stock grants represent the largest share of director compensation, at 56% — the same proportion as in 2021 — followed by cash at 37% and stock option grants at 5%. Other compensation, such as insurance premiums and charitable award programs, make up 2% of compensation.
  • The average annual retainer for S&P 500 independent board directors is $136,133, 3% higher than the 2021 average of $131,664.
  • Three-quarters of boards (76%) award stock grants to directors in addition to a cash retainer, unchanged from 2021. The average targeted dollar value of annual stock grants is $181,372, up 2% from $177,529 in 2021.
  • Only 11% of boards grant stock options to directors, compared with 25% a decade ago.
  • Ninety-one percent of independent board chairs and 82% of lead or presiding directors receive additional compensation for their board leadership service.
  • Ninety-seven percent of S&P 500 boards provide a retainer to committee chairs, compared with 92% a decade ago.

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