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Swiss Leader Index

Bump in average salary for leading company bosses

Despite increasing pressure in Europe against ‘rip-off’ salaries, last year's average pay of bosses of the 30 businesses listed on the Swiss Leader Index was CHF 5.83 million ($6.1 million), compared to CHF 5.75 million in 2014.

The 1% increase was reported in a study released Tuesday by financial advisory company Willis Tower Watson.

As in 2014, the leaders of the bank UBS, as well as the pharmaceutical companies Roche and Novartis, came out on top with earnings of CHF14 million ($14.6) million, CHF11.4 million, and CHF11.3 million, respectively in 2015.

The boss of Swisscom, Switzerland’s largest telecommunications company, earned CHF1.6 million. Bosses who had been in their positions for less than a year were not included in the study.

In general, the study found that leader compensation was very closely linked to the respective company’s earnings – but not always.

For example, travel retailer Dufry had the 6th highest salary for its boss despite having the 21st ranked earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). Meanwhile, Swisscom came in at 21st for remuneration, but had the 9th highest EBIT.

The study cited pressures that have been forming in Europe over the type and amount of remuneration for company bosses, as a result of shareholder requests and a changing legal framework.


In March 2013, 67.9% of Swiss voters approved a proposal – named for its founder, parliamentarian and businessman Thomas Minder – which would give shareholders more say over salaries for company bosses.

The initiative entered into force in 2014, and since 2015, shareholders have been able to vote on executive compensation.

As a result of the initiative, some of the more excessive bonuses have been done away with.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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