It pays to be CIO: Corporate jets, private security, car allowances and more

Some US CIOs are earning plenty and the perks are impressive

A seat on the corporate jet and pricey club memberships are typical perks for big-company CEOs, but such extras aren't limited to the folks in the corner offices. As CIOs ascend the executive ranks, many senior tech leaders are enjoying access to valuable perks and generous benefits.

Note: All figures in this story are in $US.

PAYDAY: Top CIOs take home seven-figure pay packages

According to IT careers site Dice.com, the average annual wage for tech professionals is $81,327. We've singled out nine tech leaders who netted more than that amount in perks alone last year. (Their total 2011 pay packages ranged between $913,505 and $8.6 million.)

The data comes from Network World's analysis of the proxy statements of the largest US companies. Not every public company reports compensation data for its CIO or senior IT executive, but we found 27 Fortune 500 companies that did last year, including Aetna, FedEx, Home Depot, UPS and Walgreens. Among those companies that disclosed pay data for their most senior IT executive, these nine companies paid the most in perks:

FedEx: $450,194

Rob Carter, executive vice president of information services and CIO at FedEx, didn't get a car allowance or golf membership, but his list of executive perks is nonetheless impressive. Carter's 2011 compensation extras, worth $450,194, included: $361,780 for tax reimbursement payments; $50,529 for personal use of company aircraft; $15,399 for security services and equipment; $7,296 for company-paid 401(k) contributions; $7,500 for financial counseling services; $2,850 for tax return preparation services; $2,655 for life insurance premiums; and $2,185 for umbrella insurance premiums. Carter's total 2011 compensation package was valued at $3.2 million.

American Express: $341,383

Steve Squeri, group president, global corporate services at American Express, scored the highest pay package on our tally, netting $8.6 million in 2011 for his role, which requires overseeing global business services, technologies, credit administration, corporate payments and business travel organizations. While just a fraction of his total pay, Squeri's $341,383 perks sheet included: $240,000 for company contributions to benefit plans; $35,000 for a flexible cash perks allowance; $30,175 for dividends and dividend equivalents; a $30,000 local travel allowance; $2,003 for executive life insurance; and $4,205 in other undefined benefits.

Gap: $241,699

Perks made up 8% of Tom Keiser's $2.9 million compensation package. Keiser, who is executive vice president and CIO at Gap, netted $241,699 in pay extras. His tally included: $185,769 in relocation expenses; $16,315 for a deferred compensation plan match; $14,582 for financial counseling services; $12,500 for charitable gift matching; $9,910 for a 401(k) plan match; $1,368 for company-paid life insurance premiums; and $1,255 for a disability plan.

Aetna: $170,831

Meg McCarthy, executive vice president of operations and technology at Aetna, racked up perks worth $170,831 in 2011. The bulk of her perks pay -- $146,072 -- was for personal use of company aircraft. She also received $10,000 for financial planning, $14,700 for matching 401(k) contributions, and $59 for use of company vehicles. McCarthy's total 2011 compensation package was valued at $4.5 million.

United Continental: $127,812

Keith Halbert, former executive vice president and CIO at United Continental Holdings, netted $127,812 in perks and compensation extras before leaving the company in April 2011. His tally included: $79,105 for a 401(k) cash-match program; $15,925 for company-made 401(k) contributions; $11,545 for tax indemnification; $4,589 for company-paid insurance premiums; and $16,648 for various perks including air travel, financial planning and tax services. In his final year with the airline, Halbert received a total compensation package worth $5 million ($3.1 million was for severance payments).

Home Depot: $100,681

Home Depot's top execs receive a perks allowance -- $125,000 per year for the CEO and $85,000 for the company's other named executive officers, including Matt Carey, executive vice president and CIO. The allowance, dubbed the Supplemental Executive Choice Program (SECP), can be used to pay for financial planning services, medical services, auto expenses, life and disability insurance, excess personal liability coverage, and coverage under a retiree health savings plan. Carey's SECP spending ($84,774) accounted for the bulk of his $100,681 perks package. Carey also made personal use of company tickets to entertainment events, but Home Depot didn't report the exact value of those outings. Carey's total 2011 compensation package was valued at $3.2 million.

Nash Finch: $98,147

At $913,505, Cal Sihilling's total compensation is among the lowest in our tally, yet his perks rank among the most valuable. Sihilling, who is executive vice president and CIO at Nash Finch, netted perks worth $98,147. Of that amount, $74,794 is attributed to a company contribution to Nash-Finch's supplemental executive retirement plan. The remainder is unspecified.

Walgreens: $83,995

Tim Theriault, senior vice president and CIO at Walgreens, collected a $2.9 million pay package in 2011. His perks totaled $83,995 and included: $34,311 for dividend equivalents on unvested restricted stock; $19,395 for Walgreens' profit sharing restoration plan; $13,576 for profit sharing retirement plan; $6,717 for term life insurance; and $9,996 in unspecified perquisites and personal benefits

Norfolk Southern: $83,309

As part of her $4 million compensation package from Norfolk Southern, Deb Butler netted $83,309 in perks. Butler, who is executive vice president of planning and CIO at the shipping and transportation company, earned the following extras: $13,302 for company-paid life insurance premiums, $55,089 for company-matched charitable contributions, $5,000 for an annual physical, $975 for use of corporate facilities, $214 in gifts, and $154 for spousal/guest meals and travel.

Ann Bednarz covers IT careers, outsourcing and Internet culture for Network World. Follow Ann on Twitter at @annbednarz and check out her blog, Occupational Hazards. Her email address is abednarz@nww.com.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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