CIO Only 10% on Fortune 500 list, women make up half of CIOs with top salaries

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Glass ceiling may be gone for Women in IT

Last year, women held about 10% of the chief information officer positions at Fortune 500 companies. Yet of the top 10 highest-paid CIOs in 2010, women made up half the list, compared with only two the year before, according to data compiled by consulting firm Janco Associates.

The list shows that the top-10 CIOs made from $2.5 million to $5.11 million in total compensation, which includes salary, bonus, stock, options, pension, and perks. In 2009, the figures ran from $1.4 million to $8 million. Only four CIOs appeared on the list both years. While the average salary among the top 10 stayed steady at $537,100, the value of stock and options fluctuated. The overall average salary for CIOs was $175,363 as of June this year.

At the top of the list is Margaret M McCarthy of Aetna, who made $5.11 million in total compensation. That included $588,506 in salary, $837,312 in bonus and $3.6 million in stock. The list is based on public data and does not include CIOs at companies that aren’t required to disclose salary information.

“Some of the biggest, most-well-known companies have female CIOs,” says Victor Janulaitis, founder of Janco Associates, which maintains a database of CIO Compensastion.

McCarthy’s compensation was a fraction of went to the top-paid CIO in 2008. That year, Randall Mott, executive vice-president and CIO at Hewlett-Packard received $28.3 million in total compensation, including $690,000 in salary, $7 million in bonus, $2 million in stock, $1.5 million in options, and $16.1 million in a non-equity incentive payment. Subsequent compensation for Mott — who left several months ago during a management restructuring by former chief executive officer Leo Apotheker — is not in the public record.

A CIO’s compensation is highly dependent on the reporting structure within companies. “The reason you have CIOs being paid so much is because they’re reporting directly to CEOs,” says Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco.

In the US, about 28% of CIOs surveyed by Harvey Nash and PA Consulting Group report directly to the CEO, up from about 21% in 2010 and 15% in 2009, which indicates growing influence.

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