Sask. CEOs make list of Canada's best-compensated business leaders

The leaders of Saskatchewan's mightiest companies are among the highest paid in the country, a new report shows.

Cameco, Nutrien CEOs both crack list of top 100 highest-paid executives

Nutrien CEO Chuck Magro (left) and Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel were among the highest compensated business leaders in the country, according to a study done by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. (CBC/Supplied)

The leaders of Saskatchewan's mightiest companies are among the highest paid in the country, a new report shows.

According to a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Nutrien CEO Chuck Magro made $12.6 million in salary, share and option-based awards, as well as other compensation in 2017, while Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel earned $6.2 million.

The compensation numbers are from 2017, the most recent numbers available. At the time, Magro was CEO of Agrium, which merged with the Saskatoon-based PotashCorp last year.

The numbers place both executives in the top 100 best-compensated CEOs in the country. Magro was 20th on the list while Gitzel placed 81st.

The traditionally left-leaning think-tank raised the alarm on executive payments. The report notes the CEOs on the list had already made the equivalent of what the average Canadian makes in a year by Jan. 2.

"The richest Canadian CEOs made on average $10.0 million in 2017," report author David Macdonald wrote. "Although this is slightly less than the year before, when they made $10.4 million, this year's average is still the second-highest since we began keeping track [in 2008]."

Macdonald also noted that many CEOs are compensated through stock options, not wages, taking advantage of tax rules.

"The linking of bonus pay to stock price is purported to link CEOs' incentives to those of shareholders," the report says. "But with Canadian stocks now held on average for less than a year (i.e., the average shareholder is looking to cash out their shares at a profit in under a year), linking CEO pay to shareholders' interests could easily be destructive to a company's long-term interests amidst such high stock turnover."

Regina-born oil financier and Canadian Natural Resources executive chair N. Murray Edwards also made the list at No. 15, taking in more than $13 million in compensation.


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