5 CEOs Who Make More Money Than We’ll Ever See in Our Lifetimes

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Some CEOs opt to forego salaries entirely and pay themselves something ridiculous like a dollar per year, or stick with a starting wage hovering around $30,000. But don’t feel sorry for these apparent do-gooders. They more than make up for it in stocks, bonuses and other ways to make millions.

Most CEOs happily take advantage of their position, what they bring to the company and the salary that goes along with it.

“If you keep digging, digging, digging, you’ll find something,” quipped Charif Souki, the highest paid CEO of the moment. Souki, the CEO of Chenierre Energy, who rakes in over $140 million a year, knows what he’s talking about. At the helm of a company that exports natural gas from the US, Souki proves that ‘American Made’ can be lucrative, especially when considering the global impact it can have.

Here are the CEOs with the top salaries, excepting Souki, who leaves them all in the dust. It makes the goal of earning six figures seem pretty tame by comparison:

1. Mario Gabelli

As the CEO of Gamco Investors Inc., Gabelli brings home just over $85 million each year. It’s no surprise that this leader of an investment company is making millions. It bodes well for everyone he does business with, from fellow executives to entry-level investors. “Sometimes management forgets that they work for shareholders,” says Gabelli, and keeping that humility has served him well.

2. Lawrence Ellison

The CEO of Oracle Corp. earns over $78 million per year, and that might just might keep rising given Oracle’s recent transition away from hardware to cloud computing, where it says it plans to be very competitive. The company also has its sights set on Google, in the hopes of competing with Google’s quality and cloud pricing. If Ellison helps pull off this challenge, he’s certainly earned a raise.

3. Tom Ward

Sandridge Energy Inc.’s CEO makes a little over $71 million every year, unsurprising given the highly lucrative field of energy. If it’s done well, is environmentally friendly, and helps both consumers and shareholders make money, energy is where it’s at. Check out this report on the hottest clean energy startups to get a glimpse into potential future Sandridges.

4. Anthony Petrello

The CEO of Nabors Industries has proven himself indispensable as CEO, sticking with the company and helping it rise along with his own career. From a personal branding perspective, loyalty and thought leadership capabilities are crucial for CEOs. There are a lot of people down the totem pole eager to take over should a CEO lose his or her edge.

5. Leslie Moonves

You may not know his name, but you know his business. As the CEO of CBS Corps, Moonves is the highest earning network CEO, with a nearly $67 million annual salary. Just take a look at the ratings and you’ll see why he’s earned such a hefty salary. It’s not easy competing with a slew of other networks, keeping up with mobile readiness and the consumers’ constant demand for more entertainment, less ads and instant gratification.

Of course, not all CEOs earn such impressive salaries — and that’s not the goal for many executives. But it doesn’t hurt to dream. And let’s not forget, it also doesn’t hurt my site to post a little linkbait once in a while – which is what this post is.

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