Press Release – Cologne, April 4, 2018

DAX30 Bosses earn on Average 6.2 Million EUR

  • Compensation for regular board members up 4.9%
  • Average values are driven upward by outliers
  • High target attainment in short-term variable pay

Cologne, April 4, 2018

Compensation for DAX30 executive boards grew in the past year when compared to the year before, with executive chairpersons earning 6.2 million EUR on average, a rise in guaranteed total direct compensation of 7.7%. For other board members, the figures were slightly lower, with an average rise of 4.9% on the previous year and a regular board member compensation level of around 2.7 million EUR. These figures come from the recent DAX board study conducted by HR and management consultancy Kienbaum, which evaluated the company reports of all DAX-listed companies.

Outliers influence average values

“Of course, average board salary values were driven upward by a few extremes. For instance, guaranteed compensation for the SAP chair, Bill McDermott, was 19.8 million EUR and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche received 12.9 million EUR. The median, which is less sensitive to outliers, was 4.7 million EUR, which is considerably less than the 6.2 million EUR average,” says Sebastian Pacher, compensation expert at Kienbaum, adding, “as such, it’s also clear that compensation for the overwhelming majority of DAX boards was not even close to the 10 million EUR mark. In addition to the companies already mentioned, three others were very close to that figure.” The lowest total direct compensation, at around 1.9 million EUR, was paid to the chair of Commerzbank, Martin Zielke, and to the chair of RWE, Dr. Rolf Martin Schmitz, who received 2.3 million EUR. The overall budget for board compensation this year averaged 21.3 million EUR in Germany, split between 6.6 board members (whole board incl. chairperson(s)).

Targets without ambition?

Generally speaking, DAX company boards achieved the targets that underlie variable pay. For short-term variable pay, average target attainment was 124% and 122% for regular members. “The past year was exceptionally positive for many DAX companies, so that financial targets in many companies were achieved or even exceeded. Target attainment was below the 100% mark for short-term variable pay in only six companies. Values like these are obviously the perfect fodder for critics who have long bemoaned the fact that board targets were not ambitious enough from the outset,” explains Alexander von Preen, executive director at Kienbaum. “The current economic environment could see the end of such high target attainment levels again in the foreseeable future.”


The recent Kienbaum study “DAX30 – Board” will be available from mid-April at shop.kienbaum.com at a cost of 2,500 EUR (plus VAT).

V.i.S.d.P.:

Kerstin Wandt – T.: +49 221 801 72-689 | E-Mail: kerstin.wandt@kienbaum.de

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