Executives at public tech companies faced a challenging year in 2022, marked by rising interest rates, mass layoffs, and a tight fundraising environment. As they lead their companies in the throes of a downturn (and possible recession), CEOs are incentivized through a combination of a base salary, stock options, and other compensation agreements.
A new report by human capital consulting firm Global Governance Advisors and shared with the Globe and Mail maps the compensation of Canada’s top public company CEOs across a variety of industries, determined by their market capitalization.
On average, CEOs from the IT sector in this list earned $9.6 million CAD.
In the information technology category, the report lists Shopify, OpenText, Telus, CGI, Descartes Systems Group, and Constellation Software. On average, CEOs from the IT sector in this list earned $9.6 million CAD.
Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke, who has been previously reported as having a base salary of $1, also took nothing home for bonuses. His option-based rewards were valued at $26 million CAD.
Lütke became Canada’s wealthiest company founder in 2021 when Shopify’s stock price on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges (NYSE and TSX). The value of his stake in the company at that time was worth $16.7 billion CAD, according to The Globe and Mail.
Working in the intersection of tech and retail, Shopify has not been exempt from the downturn. From its $213 CAD peak in 2021, Shopify’s stock price has been slashed by over 55 percent, currently trading at $90.63 at press time. The company has made multiple rounds of layoffs since then.
Compensation agreements for each company vary widely. While Lütke took nothing in bonuses, OpenText CEO Mark Barrenechea received a $3.5-million bonus—nearly triple his base salary, which is about $1.2 million. In total, Barrenechea received over $20.1 million in compensation for 2022 including the value of his stock options and other incentives
OpenText started 2022 trading at about $58 on the TSX, ending the year at $40.12. Following its $5.8 billion USD acquisition of Micro Focus in January 2023, OpenText laid off about eight percent of the workforce across both teams.
Meanwhile, the stock price of Descartes Systems Group has largely been resistant to the turbulent nature of the public market. It was trading at $95 at the start of 2022, ending the year at $94.
Descartes CEO Edward J. Ryan earned a total of $8.2 million, comprising $717,563 as his base salary, over $743,000 in bonuses, and other incentives such as stock awards, according to Global Governance Advisors.
Notably, Nuvei CEO Philip Fayer was ranked first in the previous year’s list, earning a total compensation of $140.7 million in 2021. Fayer was not included in this year’s list, however.
Earlier this year, Nuvei closed its $1.7 billion CAD acquisition of Paya, an American payments platform provider that traded on the Nasdaq.
Global Governance Advisors’ dataset in The Globe and Mail offers more details on the compensation agreements for Canada’s top public company CEOs for 2022.
Featured image courtesy Collision.