NEW YORK, JUNE 3 -- Chief executives of major U.S. companies earn more money, keep more of what they earn and get more for it than their counterparts in other industrial countries, according to a survey released today.
The average head of a U.S. operation with sales of $100 million made $265,000 a year in salary and bonuses as of Jan. 1 this year, said the international management consulting firm Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby.
That was more than twice the remuneration earned by the heads of comparable companies in nine of 20 countries studied -- and about 16 percent more than the $222,600 earned by top managers in second-ranked Switzerland, it said.
Germany and Japan ranked third and fourth, respectively, while Hong Kong, Australia and Korea filled the last three places, with Korean chief executives receiving less than $90,000 annually, the survey said.
Korean chief executives also paid the most taxes of the 20, while Swedish company heads faced the lowest purchasing power of the lot.
Robin Holloway, managing director of the consulting firm's international division, pointed out there are different ways of measuring compensation.
"Naturally, the amount and type of taxes the executive has to pay . . . affect the value of his pay package," he said. "Purchasing power is also significant. For example, the Brazilian executive, although 10th in earnings, is second worldwide in purchasing power in his own country."
By the same token, the purchasing power of the fourth-ranked compensation received by Japanese executives was 16th on the list of 20.
The survey also found local customs or tax considerations affecting the compensation packages received by company heads in different countries.
For example, U.S., Belgian, French, German and British company chiefs commonly receive bonuses equal to 25 percent of their salaries. Spanish, Swedish and Swiss bonuses average about 20 percent, it found.