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2023 S&P 500 Compensation Snapshot

August 2023

New director snapshot

The 2023 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, revealing 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 $321,220 (excluding compensation for the independent chair), representing an increase of around 2% from $316,091 in 2022.
  • Stock grants represent the largest share of director compensation, at 58% — up 2 percentage points from 2021 — followed by cash at 37% and stock option grants at 3%. 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 $143,106, 5% higher than the 2022 average of $136,133.
  • Three-quarters of boards (74%) award stock grants to directors in addition to a cash retainer, compared with 76% in 2021. The average targeted dollar value of annual stock grants is $185,460, up 2% from $181,372 in 2022.
  • Only 7% of boards grant stock options to directors, compared with 20% a decade ago.
  • 93% of independent board chairs and 85% of lead or presiding directors receive additional compensation for their board leadership service.
  • 98% of S&P 500 boards provide a retainer to committee chairs, compared with 94% a decade ago.

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