Study: French company bosses receiving record pay

Bosses of France's biggest companies are taking home bigger pay packages than ever

Bosses of large companies in France are taking home record levels of pay, according to a new study, to reach an average high of €3.8 million.

Directors of the top companies in France - those in the stock market index SBF120 (Société des Bourses Françaises) - saw their pay rise by 10% in 2017, according to the study by financial analysis agency Proxinvest.

Similarly, bosses of companies in stock market index CAC40 (Cotation Assistée en Continu) have had a 22% increase in remuneration from 2013-2017. Pay for presidents of these companies has risen even higher; by 14% to an average of €5.1 million.

The study took into account all forms of payment in this senior roles, including fixed salary, annual bonus, tokens, perks, stock options, and any free gifts related to their role, plus cash incentives and any other forms of remuneration.

Fixed salaries of directors have risen by 3%, variable annual wages by 6%, and free perks by 6%.

The best-paid boss in France is Bernard Charlès, director general of software company Dassault Systèmes, who receives a package worth €24.6 million, thanks to a “a very generous allocation of free shares”, the study said.

Second in line is Gilles Bogin, founder of energy company Rubis, with an estimated €21.1 million; and third is Carlos Ghosn, CEO of car manufacturers Renault and Nissan, who received €13 million in 2017 plus 5.6 million from Nissan alone - although his pay dropped last year following a rejection from shareholders.

Despite this, the study concluded that the high pay of many directors is not commensurate with the shareholder performance of most of the companies, nor with the pay levels of their staff.

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