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Is Mastercard Incorporated's (NYSE:MA) CEO Salary Justified?

Simply Wall St

In 2010 Ajay Banga was appointed CEO of Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA). First, this article will compare CEO compensation with compensation at other large companies. After that, we will consider the growth in the business. Third, we'll reflect on the total return to shareholders over three years, as a second measure of business performance. The aim of all this is to consider the appropriateness of CEO pay levels.

Check out our latest analysis for Mastercard

How Does Ajay Banga's Compensation Compare With Similar Sized Companies?

According to our data, Mastercard Incorporated has a market capitalization of US$295b, and paid its CEO total annual compensation worth US$20m over the year to December 2018. While this analysis focuses on total compensation, it's worth noting the salary is lower, valued at US$1.3m. We note that more than half of the total compensation is not the salary; and performance requirements may apply to this non-salary portion. We took a group of companies with market capitalizations over US$8.0b, and calculated the median CEO total compensation to be US$11m. (We took a wide range because the CEOs of massive companies tend to be paid similar amounts - even though some are quite a bit bigger than others).

Thus we can conclude that Ajay Banga receives more in total compensation than the median of a group of large companies in the same market as Mastercard Incorporated. However, this doesn't necessarily mean the pay is too high. A closer look at the performance of the underlying business will give us a better idea about whether the pay is particularly generous.

You can see a visual representation of the CEO compensation at Mastercard, below.

NYSE:MA CEO Compensation, December 2nd 2019

Is Mastercard Incorporated Growing?

Mastercard Incorporated has increased its earnings per share (EPS) by an average of 23% a year, over the last three years (using a line of best fit). Its revenue is up 13% over last year.

This shows that the company has improved itself over the last few years. Good news for shareholders. It's also good to see decent revenue growth in the last year, suggesting the business is healthy and growing. Shareholders might be interested in this free visualization of analyst forecasts.

Has Mastercard Incorporated Been A Good Investment?

Boasting a total shareholder return of 194% over three years, Mastercard Incorporated has done well by shareholders. This strong performance might mean some shareholders don't mind if the CEO were to be paid more than is normal for a company of its size.

In Summary...

We compared total CEO remuneration at Mastercard Incorporated with the amount paid at other large companies. As discussed above, we discovered that the company pays more than the median of that group.

However we must not forget that the EPS growth has been very strong over three years. Even better, returns to shareholders have been plentiful, over the same time period. Considering this fine result for shareholders, we daresay the CEO compensation might be apt. CEO compensation is one thing, but it is also interesting to check if the CEO is buying or selling Mastercard (free visualization of insider trades).

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.