Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Business Administration


Kruti Lehenbauer


Rochelle Caroon-Santiago


Adam Guerrero


The existing literature on CEO compensation places heavy emphasis on the interrelationships between educational background and personal experiences of a CEO and how it affects a firm’s performance and, in-turn, how the firm’s performance impacts the CEO compensation. However, there is sparse research on the direct impact that socio-demographic factors and other variables have on CEO compensation. This dissertation’s aim is to identify if socio-demographic factors play a role in how a firm compensates its CEOs by using information gathered from the CEOs of the top Fortune 100 companies.

Given the non-random and limited sample, the primary research methods in this dissertation are a detailed literature review followed by descriptive analysis of the variables of interest such as the salary, bonus stock, and total compensation given to CEOs in the Fortune 100 firms from the year 2020. The socio-demographic characteristics such as gender, age, race, experience in the field, educational attainment, educational institution, and whether the individual was a founder of the company were gathered individually using various resources, since this data is not easily available in annual reports of all firms. The other independent control variables such as market value of firm in billions, industry sector to which the firm belongs, and whether the firm is a public company or not were also included in the analyses.

The primary finding of the dissertation was that the trends in the compensation variables for CEOs of the Top Fortune 100 firms are consistent, for the most part, with what the literature suggests. Given the small and non-random sample, making large-scale conclusions regarding how all CEOs are compensated would be erroneous. However, one of the most important findings of the analysis is that neither gender nor race play a significant role in the way CEOs are compensated (there is no discrimination). CEOs attending private universities for their highest degree and CEOs that work for consumer product industries tend to have higher compensations than their counterparts.

While the study includes linear regressions more as a theoretical construct due to the sample limitations, they do indicate a weak level of causality between some socio-demographic background variables and the compensations of the CEOs. If this type of individual data was collected on larger samples of CEOs and randomized, one can expect a more generalizable result, but this type of data collection can be costly in terms of time and resources. The author concludes that there appears to be some relationship between certain achievement-based socio-demographic variables and the compensation packages which needs to be analyzed further.