Meet the $141.9 Million Man

The highest-paid CEO in America is a Texan

The highest-paid CEO in America is a Texan

Charif Souki Cheniere Energy
According to new rankings, Charif Souki, chairman, president and CEO of Houston-based Cheniere Energy, is the highest paid CEO in the country, with $141.9 million in compensation. Photo via Forbes
Richard K. Templeton of Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments chairman, president and CEO Richard K. Templeton ranked No. 159 among the top 200 highest-paid executives in the country. Photo courtesy of TI
Doug Parker of American Airlines Group
Doug Park of American Airlines Group took the No. 94 spot, with $17,661,130 in compensation. Photo courtesy of American Airlines
Charif Souki Cheniere Energy
Richard K. Templeton of Texas Instruments
Doug Parker of American Airlines Group

When they say everything is bigger in Texas, they must be thinking about executive salaries. According to new rankings, the highest-paid CEO in the country is a Texan: Charif Souki of Houston-based Cheniere Energy, whose total compensation for 2013 was a jaw-dropping $141,949,280.

To determine the 2014 list of the top 200 highest-paid CEOs, Equilar, the data provider for the New York Times, crunched the numbers on compensation, professional history and wealth events for executives of publicly traded companies.

According to its website, Cheniere Energy “provides information on liquefied natural gas, U.S. energy demand, and how LNG can help to safely diversify and expand our energy supply.” Neither 61-year-old Souki nor Cheniere Energy appeared on the 2013 list of highest-paid CEOs.

According to Forbes, Souki’s 2013 salary was only $800,000. The other $141.1 million Cheniere’s CEO received came from a large bonus ($3.6 million), non-equity incentive plan compensation ($4.2 million) and other compensation ($339,280), as well as more than $132 million from restricted stock awards. Additionally, Equilar’s data indicates that Souki has sold more than $69 million in stock over the past three years.

Mario J. Gabelli, the chief executive at New York’s GAMCO Investors, came in at No. 2 on the list. But it’s a distant second, at $85,049,800. Also compare Souki’s nearly $142 million to Exxon Mobil’s chairman and CEO, Rex Tillerson, who came in at No. 25, with $28.1 million.

Texas Instruments’ Richard K. Templeton landed at No. 159, with $13,712,859. He dropped 101 spots from last year, where a similar compensation earned him the No. 58 spot. Tillerson wasn’t on the 2013 list, which only looked at the top 100 highest-paid CEOs.

Another newcomer on the 2014 list is Doug Parker, who became CEO of American Airlines Group following the merger of American Airlines and US Airways in 2013. He snagged the No. 94 spot, with $17,661,130 in compensation.

Other Houston CEOs on Equilar’s list include Paal Kibsgaard of Schlumberger — the world’s largest oil field services company — at No. 49, with $22 million. Robert A. Walker, of oil and gas exploration company Anadarko Petroleum, came in at No. 116, with $15.7 million. Gary R. Heminger, president and CEO of Marathon Oil, ranked 188th with $12.7 million in compensation.