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Executive pay soared during the pandemic, widening the gulf between CEOs and employees. These were the 5 execs who received the largest pay packages in 2020.

Business Insider India logo Business Insider India 11-06-2021 Avery Hartmans
a man wearing a suit and tie: Executive pay soared during the pandemic, widening the gulf between CEOs and employees. These were the 5 execs who received the largest pay packages in 2020. © Photo by Julien Mattia/NurPhoto via Getty Images Executive pay soared during the pandemic, widening the gulf between CEOs and employees. These were the 5 execs who received the largest pay packages in 2020.
  • Executive compensation skyrocketed in 2020, a New York Times and Equilar analysis found.
  • Palantir CEO Alex Karp was the highest-paid public company CEO at $1.1 billion.
  • Eight of the top earners received compensation packages worth over $100 million last year.

For US executives, 2020 was a banner year.

The New York Times partnered with executive compensation consulting firm Equilar to examine CEO pay during the pandemic, and how it compared to the average worker at the company. The data showed that not only is the gulf between employee and executive pay widening, but that executive compensation skyrocketed in 2020.

The Times found that eight of the top earners received compensation packages worth over $100 million last year, a contrast from years past: In 2018, five execs earned over $100 million, and in 2019, only one did.

On top of that, six out of the 10 largest executive pay packages were handed out in 2020, according to The Times.

These were the five highest-paid execs in 2020:

1. Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir

With a compensation package worth $1.1 billion, Karp was the highest-paid CEO of a publicly traded company last year, according to The Times.

Karp's company, Palantir, officially became a public company last September via a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The secretive data-mining firm works primarily with government and law enforcement agencies worldwide.

2. Tony Xu, CEO of DoorDash

a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera © Mike Blake/Reuters

DoorDash's Tony Xu became the second-highest paid executive in 2020 with compensation valued at $414 million.

2020 was a breakout year for DoorDash as the pandemic forced people to stay at home and food delivery orders ballooned. DoorDash went public in a highly anticipated IPO in December.

3. Eric Wu, CEO of Opendoor

With compensation worth $370 million, Opendoor CEO Eric Wu was the third-highest paid executive in 2020.

Opendoor is essentially a home-flipping company that uses technology to buy, renovate, and sell homes. The company went public last year via a SPAC led by venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya.

Read more: Chamath Palihapitiya's ego and a scattershot strategy gutted his venture-capital firm. Now the investor has a new playbook that could put him back on top.

4. Chad Richison, CEO of Paycom

a man wearing a suit and tie © Paycom

Paycom CEO Chad Richison earned compensation valued at $211 million in 2020, putting him in fourth place among top-earning executives.

Paycom provides HR management software and pioneered the self-service approach that allows employees to enroll in benefits or check their paystub online.

5. Joey Levin, CEO of IAC/InterActiveCorp

Joseph Levin, the CEO of IAC, was 2020's fifth-highest compensated executive at $184 million.

IAC/InterActiveCorp owns a slew of internet platforms, media outlets, and ecommerce sites including Care.com and the Daily Beast.

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