Snap Inc.’s initial public offering in March 2017 – and the big stock awards for the Venice-based social media company’s top executives last year – made the biggest impact on the Business Journal’s two lists that rank the highest-paid executives at Los Angeles County-based public companies.

The lists are based on compensation data for 2017 collected from proxy statements and annual report filings.

Snap’s Evan Spiegel topped this year’s list of highest-paid chief executives, ranked by total company compensation in 2017, with $638 million in compensation. Nearly all of that amount came from stock awards – his annual salary is $98,000.

The social media app developer went public last year, and has more recently seen its stock price fluctuate, as its pace of user expansion has disappointed investors. A heavily criticized product redesign, and a former Snap engineer’s allegations of a “toxic” and “sexist” culture at the company, haven’t helped.

The No. 2 executive – Antony Ressler, who was chief executive of Century City-based financial firm Ares Management since co-founding the firm in 1997 and stepped down in December, earned nearly $109 million in total compensation in 2017. He became chairman Jan. 1.

The company’s new chief executive, Michael Arougheti, earned $22 million last year to land at No. 8 on the chief executive list. Ares Management shares rose 4.2 percent in 2017. Additionally, executives Bennett Rosenthal, who also co-founded the firm, and David Kaplan, tied each other at No. 3 on the non-chief executive list with $54.2 million each.

Snap effect

The 50 CEOs on this week’s list combined for a 141 percent hike in total compensation, reaching $1.4 billion compared with $565 million in 2016.

The increase would be 28 percent without Spiegel on the list.

That compares with a 5 percent increase nationally, according to Redwood City-based Equilar Inc., which determined the 100 highest-paid chief executives in the U.S. averaged $15.7 million in compensation last year.

This week’s list on non-chief executive compensation showed a cumulative 41 percent year-over-year increase to $641 million.

The technology sector has a large presence in the top 10 spots of the Business Journal’s list of highest-paid executives who are not chief executives.

The total would have been $469 million, for an increase of 3 percent, without Snap, which has several entries on the non-CEO list. (Snap co-founder Bobby Murphy, who current serves as chief technology officer of the company, is not considered an “executive officer” according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and therefore not on the non-CEO list).


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