Oil Company CEO’s Salary Soars Despite Ukraine War Turmoil

Oil and gas companies have experienced a notable boost in revenue over the past year due to factors such as the rising cost of gas and other global issues. Consequently, the top executives of these companies have seen an increase in their salaries. ExxonMobil, a leading oil and gas company, reported its highest-ever profits during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and increased its chief executive’s pay by 52% to $35.9 million (equivalent to 28.7 million Pounds) in 2022. Additionally, Darren Woods’ incentives and share awards went up by 80%, and his pay rose by 10% to $1.9 million. The company justified the substantial payout by stating that it was “in line with the record earnings and stock price performance.”

According to reports, ExxonMobil made a profit of $56 billion in the previous year, which translates to $6.3 million per hour. This was due to the rise in global oil and gas prices that were triggered by the war in Ukraine. However, it has been revealed that the company’s employees did not receive the same benefits. The truth is that the annual salaries of employees in various major energy corporations have decreased. Exxon’s median employee salary dropped by 9% to $171,582, while Chevron’s median employee pay decreased by 12% to $161,488, according to filings. Despite this, both of the largest US oil companies have achieved record profits in 2022, thanks to high energy prices and cost-cutting measures that include payroll reductions. Exxon led the way in profit generation among Western oil majors, while Chevron’s profit soared to a record $36.5 billion, more than double the previous year.

Compared to the previous year, Exxon’s CEO saw the highest percentage increase in pay among their peers. Chevron’s CEO Michael Wirth received a 4% increase, while Occidental Petroleum’s CEO Vicki Hollub saw her pay increase by 35%. However, ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance experienced a 16% decrease in pay.

As per their proxy filings, Occidental workers had a median annual pay increase of 19% in the previous year, amounting to $187,168. However, Conoco’s median annual pay decreased by 1% to $177,533. Additionally, a new calculation disclosure mandated by the SEC shows that Woods, the CEO of ExxonMobil, could earn $89.7 million in 2022 on unvested stock awards. This increased transparency on equity compensation has been applauded by the shareholder advocacy group As We Sow. However, it is not an accurate reflection of total compensation as the total value can only be determined when executives exercise options or sell their stocks. In 2020, Woods lost over $7 million under the same metric.