The 15 Highest Paid CEOs in the World (2018)

male ceo Shutterstock

We’re well aware of the famous titans who have been at the top of the chains for what seems like a decade, from the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to Tesla’s Elon Musk, but as technology keeps growing and evolving, so too are their bank balances.

These successful entrepreneurs are not only famous for their status and paycheques, though – they inspire their teams and their employees’ personal development, too. By using their key leadership skills, they know how to keep a company culture alive and a business booming.

Without further ado, here are the top 15 highest paid CEOs making their mark in 2018.



14. Bernard J Tyson (tie)

Bernard J TysonFortune

Company:  Kaiser Permanente

Age: 59

Nationality: American

Worth: $50 million (£39.1 million)

Bernard J Tyson is one of the leading authorities in the public health sector in North America. Having devoted over 30 years of his life to Kaiser Parmanente before stepping in as CEO in 2012, Tyson has shown clear determination in making high-quality healthcare affordable in the US. He leads one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health plans, addressesing the medical needs of more than 11.3 million people, and has achieved his success due to his leadership skills, which encourage 220,000 employees to provide the best treatments in public healthcare.


14. Satya Nadella (tie)

Satya NadellaGeekWire

Company:  Microsoft

Age: 50

Nationality: Indian-American

Worth: $50 million (£39.1 million)

Satya Nadella, who has been Microsoft’s CEO since 2014, is known for his thirst to learn and constantly develop new products. According to Microsoft chairman John Thompson, Nadella ‘made a pronouncement on Day One – the world is about cloud first, mobile first’. He knew how he wanted to evolve the tech giant, moving the company towards the future and a cloud-based system. His visions clearly paid off: under his reign, Nadella has managed to triple Microsoft’s stock price, taking the company to new heights.


13. Tim Cook

Tim CookShutterstock

Company:  Apple

Age: 57

Nationality: American

Worth: $120 million (£93.8 million)

Tim Cook is widely known as a workaholic, waking up at 3:45am to check over 700 emails. But this work ethic hasn’t gone astray. Since Cook took the role of CEO, succeeding the legendary Steve Jobs, he has nearly quadrupled Apple’s share price. He has streamlined the products, making them wearable but at a higher cost, which brings in more revenue to Apple and its shareholders.


11. Daniel Ek (tie)

Daniel EkRouteNote

Company: Spotify

Age: 35

Nationality: Swedish

Worth: $800 million (£626 million)

Tech pioneer Daniel Ek is the man behind Spotify, one of the most popular music-streaming services in the world, and was crowned the most powerful person in music by Billboard magazine in 2017. Ek provides Spotify’s 100+ million users with an affordable method to listen to all the latest hits and gives artists a way to interact with their fans. People no longer have to purchase individual albums; they can have an entire selection of different genres at their fingertips.


11. Jeff Weiner (tie)

Jeff WeinerStandford Graduate School of Business

Company:  LinkedIn Corporation

Age: 48

Nationality: American

Worth: $800 million (£626 million)

With a wealth of experience at Warner Bros and Yahoo!, Jeff Weiner decided to join professional networking site LinkedIn in 2009. Within a year, he had developed new processes and expanded the recruitment and networking platform and managed to bag the title of CEO. During that time, he increased LinkedIn’s revenue from $78 million (£61 million) to $3.7 billion (£2.9 billion) and is only at the beginning of his dynasty, with many more tricks up his sleeve.



9. Aneel Bhusri (tie)

Aneel BhusriFast Company

Company:  Workday

Age: 52

Nationality: American

Worth: $1.2 billion (£939 million)

Aneel Bhusri had worked as a product visionary, innovator and leader of the enterprise software company for over two decades. His interest in his employees and their success is what sets him apart from the rest. He even reportedly allows his employees to hire the next batch of workers.


9. Sundar Pichai (tie)

Sundar PichaiTechCentral

Company:  Google

Age: 46

Nationality: Indian-American

Worth: $1.2 billion (£939 million)

Sundar Pichai started off as Vice President of Products Management at Google, overseeing the development and launch of the Google Chrome web browser. After its ever-growing success, Pichai worked on developing other products, including Android, Google+, Maps and AdWords. In 2015, he was appointed as Larry Page’s second-in-command, becoming CEO of Google.


8. Marc Benioff

Marc BenioffFortune

Company:  Salesforce

Age: 53

Nationality: American

Worth: $3.9 billion (£3 billion)

After spending 13 years under Larry Ellison at Oracle, Benioff decided to spread his wings and build his own thriving computer software business. He has been named the Soul of the Company and is said to truly lead by example in making the world a better place, according to employees. They praise his full-throated embrace of diversity in a tumultuous political climate. If his great company culture wasn’t enough, Benioff allows his staff to take up to seven days off to volunteer at nonprofit organisations each year.


7. Suphachai Chearavanont

Suphachai ChearavanontThe Nation

Company:  Charoen Pokphand

Age: 51

Nationality: Thai

Worth: $13.7 billion (£10.7 billion)

Suphachai Chearavanontt is the new face of Charoen Pokphand, one of the world's largest producers of animal feed and livestock, an inherited business that his grandfather set up in 1921 selling seeds that were imported from China. He recently gained his status as CEO, after his father stepped down following a 48-year stint at the company. He plans to continue to make a real contribution to Thailand’s agriculture.


6. Elon Musk

Elon MuskTeslarati

Company:  Tesla

Age: 47

Nationality: South African

Worth: $20.8 billion (£16.2 billion)

Elon Musk is a force to be reckoned with. Having created his own video game at the age of 12, he was bound to break the internet in his later years. He went on to found the company that would later become known as PayPal in 1999 and then sold it to eBay for $180 million (£140.8 million). In 2002, he launched SpaceX, a private company focused on shaking up the space industry. A year later he invested in Tesla Motors, a startup car manufacturer that aims to produce all-electric production cars, something mainstream manufacturers had tried to do and failed miserably – setting Tesla as the sole leader in the industry.



5. Michael Dell

Michael DellFortune

Company:  Dell Computers

Age: 53

Nationality: American

Worth: $24.1 billion (£18.8 billion)

Michael Dell founded what is now one of the biggest IT companies in the world at the young age of 19 when he began manufacturing and selling IT infrastructures. He would take existing products and make them 10 times faster, efficient and user-friendly, making up to $80,000 (£63,000) a month from his dorm room. In 1988, the business went public and, by 1992, Dell was established as the youngest CEO with a Fortune 500 company. In 2016, Dell merged with computer storage giant EMC, which was estimated at $60 billion (£46.9 billion).


4. Larry Page

Larry PageFortune

Company:  Alphabet

Age: 45

Nationality: American

Worth: $48.8 billion (£38.1 billion)

The brains behind the largest search engine in the world, Larry Page is not only known for his masterpiece that is Google but also for providing one of the world’s best working environments. He has garnered a 95% approval rating on employee-driven career site Glassdoor. Often known as a quiet introvert, Page has reached such success status through his calm nature, bright ideas and great communication skills, making him a true leadership model for future CEOs.


3. Charles Koch

Charles KochThe Wall Street Journal

Company:  Koch Industries

Age: 82

Nationality: American

Worth: $60 billion (£46.9 billion)

Charles Koch is chairman of the board and CEO of Koch Industries Inc, a position he has held since 1967. The success of the business is largely due to Koch’s interest and commitment to scientific and social progression. For over 50 years, Koch has supported academic and public policy research, with a special focus on developing voluntary research. He funded a number of think tanks, including the libertarian Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.


2. Mark Zuckerberg

Mark ZuckerbergCNET

Company:  Facebook

Age: 34

Nationality: American

Worth: $70 billion (£54.7 billion)

Self-made billionaire Mark Zuckerberg started his blossoming career in his dorm room at Harvard University at the age of 19, creating what’s known as the biggest social media platform: Facebook. The platform now has over 2 billion users and is fast-evolving, making a real impact on the world. He went on to buy Instagram, which boasts over 1 billion active users, as well as WhatsApp, which has over 1.5 billion monthly users.


1. Jeff Bezos


Company: Amazon

Age: 54

Nationality: American

Worth: $151.7 billion (£118.7 billion)

The richest man in history, Jeff Bezos began his journey selling books online from his garage in Seattle. From then, he’s expanded to having one of the top online retailers in the world: Amazon. He also dabbles in many other ventures, including his aerospace company Blue Origin and the Washington Post which he purchased in 2013. Bezos is big on philanthropy and giving back to the community – in 2012, he donated $2.5 million (£1.9 million) to defend same-sex marriage in Washington.



What we can learn from the top runners in business is that if you strongly believe in an idea, you should follow through. Who knows? You could go on to become the next Zuckerberg or Bezos.

Which CEO’s story has inspired you the most? Let us know in the comments section below.


This article was originally published in September 2017.

CEO earnings are based on pre-tax income data compiled and published by Forbes and Celebrity Net Worth. The list was also adapted from the 2018 CEO World Awards results. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by on 10 August 2018.