The Average Salary of a Chairman of the Board


In the business world, the buck stops in the boardroom. Large organizations often have a board of directors to provide oversight, ensure legal compliance and set the overall direction for a company. A chairman of the board in a for-profit organization usually receives a salary or other compensation.

Big Company, Big Salary

  • Salaries for board members tend to be driven by the size of the company, according to the Frederic W. Cook and Company survey of director compensation. A business with less than $1 billion of market capitalization typically paid total compensation of $125,260 to each member of the board in 2013, the survey showed. Businesses with up to $5 billion paid a total of $182,500, and those with $5 billion or more paid $236,650.

Additional Money

  • In addition to the pay for being a board member, board chairs receive a stipend. According to Cook and Company, stipends vary by industry. In 2013, in financial services and technology, the median stipend was $50,000. In the retail industry, the median stipend was $100,000 in 2013. Energy companies offered the highest median stipend at $150,000, with a range from $75,000 to $200,000.

Location Matters

  • Location made a difference in board chair salaries in 2014, according to In Ohio, the average salary was $133,181. In Chicago, Illinois, the average salary was $162,553. Board chairs in Charlotte, North Carolina, were paid an average of $157,198. Average salaries in California ranged from $132,689 in San Francisco to $143,295 in Los Angeles and $145,555 in San Diego. In Portland, Oregon, the average board chair salary was $156,770. Houston, Texas, offered the highest average salary in’s data, at $164,771.

Above and Beyond

  • Some board chairs earned much higher salaries than the average, according to a May 2013 Bloomberg article. Pay to directors, including the board chair, averaged $251,000 at Standard and Poor’s 500 index companies. John Tyson, the chair of Tyson Foods’ board of directors, earned $3,295,168 in 2012. He was surpassed by William Foley -- executive chairman and chairman of the board before becoming vice chair -- who earned $3,488,791 in 2011 from Fidelity National Information Services.

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