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How much does the CEO of Nike earn?

Let's take a look inside the big paychecks of sportswear executives

How much does the CEO of Nike earn? Let's take a look inside the big paychecks of sportswear executives

In the dynamic world of corporate leadership, executive compensation has always been a topic of great interest and attention - but also of significant secrecy. John Donahoe, the President and CEO of Nike Inc., saw his compensation increase significantly, as stated in the company's annual proxy statement, reaching $32.8 million last year. However, recent changes in reporting by the Securities and Exchange Commission provide new insights into how CEO pay is measured, revealing intriguing details about Donahoe's actual earnings.

How much does the Nike CEO really get paid?

John Donahoe's compensation package at Nike Inc. for the fiscal year includes several components, totaling an impressive $32.8 million. This figure includes a salary of $1.5 million, an incentive payment of $6.8 million, and other benefits amounting to $4 million, mainly consisting of charitable donations from the company to support the CEO's personal philanthropy. However, the most substantial part of Donahoe's compensation comes from stocks and options valued at an incredible $20.5 million at the time of grant.

How are CEO salaries measured?

With the introduction of the Securities and Exchange Commission's new reporting method for CEO compensation, known as "pay actually received," a different perspective on executive remuneration emerges. This method considers the changing value of unvested stock over time. Applying this metric to Donahoe's compensation reveals a total of $29.4 million, $3.4 million less than the original target set by Nike's board of directors. This metric highlights the influence of stock performance on executive earnings. As one of the primary drivers of executive pay, the company's stock performance plays a significant role in determining actual earnings for top-level executives. In John Donahoe's case, the value of his unvested stock decreased along with the decline in the company's stock, which fell by 11.4 percent during the fiscal year ending on May 31st. Consequently, his "actual" compensation ended up being below the target set by Nike's board of directors. 

And how much do fashion CEOs earn?

Luxury fashion brand CEOs earn substantial sums. According to, for instance, former Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri «receives an annual compensation of 8 million euros, contributing to a net worth of the manager - including positions held at Stella McCartney and Bottega Veneta - amounting to 60 million euros». Meanwhile, according to a corporate document published by the Prada Group, both Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli earned 9.08 million euros in 2020, in addition to bonuses and incentives of 27,000 euros, and a pension, contributions, and TFR amounting to 24,000 euros. In 2015, as reported by Il Sole 24 Ore, the two «earned 13.2 and 14.2 million euros, respectively».