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Executive salaries Wage losses for heads of major Swiss firms

man with briefcase

Not quite down-at-the-heel

(© KEYSTONE / GAETAN BALLY)

On average, heads of large Swiss corporations have suffered a marked drop in salary. In 2017, the median wage of the heads of 20 leading companies dropped by nearly 30%.

According to the executive compensation report published by consulting firm PwCexternal link on Tuesday, the median salary of the heads of 20 firms in the leading SMI index fell from CHF7.7 million ($7.7 million) to CHF5.5 million.

Half of the CEOs earn more than CHF5.5 million in median wages, the other half less. This means that the median remuneration of the heads of the 20 largest listed companies has fallen to the 2009 level.

Medium-sized companies included in the SMIM index also saw their CEOs’ salaries fall by 7.6% to CHF3.3 million last year. However, the median wage is still around 54% higher than in 2009.

For small listed companies (Smallcap), on the other hand, the median wage rose by 3.5% to CHF1.4 million. This is almost 13% more than in 2013.

Swiss CEOs with lower wages

A comparison with Germany showed that the CEOs of large Swiss corporations earned significantly less than their German counterparts in 2017. The Swiss median wage, at CHF5.5 million, was CHF1.3 million lower than the median wage of DAX group executives. This is because remuneration in Germany rose by 13% last year compared to Switzerland.

In small companies, too, German colleagues earned €1.6 million (CHF1.8 million), more than Swiss CEOs, who received €1.4 million. Only among the medium-sized companies in the SMIM do the Swiss, with CHF3.3 million, come out ahead of their German colleagues from the MDAX (CHF3 million).


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