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AMD CEO Lisa Su is First Woman to Top AP CEO Pay Analysis

(Image credit: AMD)

AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su has won plenty of accolades over the last several years as she has led her company from the edge of bankruptcy to the top performer on the S&P 500 in both 2018 and 2019. Still, she has apparently also racked up plenty of success on a more personal front: Lisa Su is the first woman to lead the AP's CEO pay analysis for the S&P 500, beating out all other CEOs with her healthy $58.5 million compensation in 2019. That's incredibly impressive given that women CEOs lead only 5% of companies on the S&P 500.  

There are a few caveats to the achievement; to negate the impact of signing bonuses, AP's CEO pay list doesn't include executives that have served fewer than two fiscal years at their respective companies. But that doesn't take the shine off of Su's compensation, which also includes stock awards, bonuses, and other compensation. For perspective, the second-highest-paid CEO on the list, David Zaslav of Discovery, took home $45.8 million in pay. In contrast, the second-ranked woman, Marillyn A. Hewson of Lockheed Martin, took home a 'mere' $24.4 million.

The AP's two-year restriction means we can't see how Intel CEO Bob Swan stacks up, and we also can't find Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang on the list, though predicts he took home $13.6 million (take that number with a grain of salt).

Despite a $1 million base salary, Su's compensation rose by 338% from the year prior, driven by a $1.2 million performance bonus, $53 million in stock awards, and $3 million in stock options. The stock awards are obviously particularly handsome given AMD's stellar market performance: AMD's stock has risen from $2.80 when Su took the reigns in 2014 to an astounding $52.74 at the time of writing. In fact, Su also helmed the company to its highest share price in its storied 50-year history of $58.90 in February 2020. Both of these values exceed the company's previous record of $47.50 set back in 2000. 

Su, who holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, has been largely credited for AMD's resurgence. Su has led the company back to profitability and competitiveness, earning multiple plaudits for her work along the way, including being recognized by Forbes 50 for being one of the top 50 world leaders, among numerous other recognitions. Much of the company's current success is due to its share gains against its primary competitor in the CPU market, Intel, and continued execution on the graphics side of its business. AMD is currently focused on continuing to execute on its ambitious roadmap of new CPUs and GPUs, and if successful, that portends another stellar year in 2021.

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.