10/06 Update to this post:
Upon the announcement that HP (HPQ) would split, Meg Whitman’s approval rating went up 61%.
09/22 Update to this post:
Safra Catz was named co-CEO at Oracle (ORCL) on Thursday (09/18). Since her naming, the approval rating for Oracle’s CEO (previously Larry Ellison @ 92%) has dropped to 62%. While Catz’s CEO compensation has not yet been published, as CFO she was already more than Marissa Mayer, at $43M.
Looking closer at approval ratings of women CEOs shows that women running smaller companies tend to have higher approval ratings.
This lead us to wonder… How does Marissa Mayer compare to other top earning female CEO compensation?
We looked into comparable women CEOs, their compensation and their company’s performance. We found that, while Marissa Mayer is the highest paid in her cohort, she also lead Yahoo! to a staggering 101% growth in stock price in 2013. This was the most growth in company stock price of any leader we analyzed. Closest to this growth rate is Meg Whitman of HP, who lead the company to 86% growth; however, Whitman receives less than half Mayer’s compensation.
Interestingly, despite the strong growth the women helped produce for their companies, both have low approval ratings on their company profiles.
In Whitman’s case, she produced very strong growth, receives significantly less in compensation than Mayer and still gets a very low approval rating.
The approval ratings for Virginia Rometty, Carol Meyrowitz, Sharen Turney, Irene Rosenfeld are even lower, hovering around 50%. In these cases of top earning women CEOs there does not seem to be a correlation between stock price growth, compensation, and approval rating.
The discrepancies lead one to wonder: what drives approval rating if not increasing stock value? One might think that it is innovation and overall company growth. Looking at other women-led companies which have both disrupted entire marketplaces and grown exponentially does divulge higher approval scores. Although at different stages in development, all the below companies have been incorporated in the last 10 years, have fewer than 2000 employees and have used aggressive growth models to expand. It is no surprise that pleasing a smaller crowd of stakeholders is easier than a bigger crowd, and CEOs of big companies face many factions which inevitably leads them to displease someone. However, it is noteworthy that these smaller, start up firms generally tend to boast CEOs with higher approval ratings.
Michelle Peluso of Gilt Group
Julie Rice of Soul Cycle
Alexa Von Tobel of LearnVest
Jess Lee of Polyvore
** All compensation and stock growth rate numbers based on 2013.