General counsel at large Texas companies made a lot more money on average in 2016 than in 2015, with total pay packages increasing by 6.5 percent on average, and energy companies accounting for the very highest paid GCs.

The total compensation for 48 general counsel who are among the best-paid at their large Texas companies averaged $2,497,311 in 2016, compared with an average of $2,345,603 for GCs at 46 Texas companies in 2015, according to Texas Lawyer’s annual Corporate Roster.

The improvement is significant, since average total compensation declined by 11 percent in 2015, compared with 2014.

The GCs who are among their company’s highest-paid executives do make considerably more than big firm partners at Texas firms. In 2016, profits per partner at the 25 highest-grossing firms in Texas averaged $1,165,000 in 2016, which is undeniably a big payout but less than half of what the GCs make.

Alan Crain, who retired in 2016 as senior vice president, chief legal and governance officer from Baker Hughes in Houston, topped the list of the best-paid general counsel in Texas, with total compensation of $7,034,867, including equity valued at $3,172,379. His pay was up 42.6 percent compared to the year before. He did not immediately return a telephone message.

Robert Reeves, executive vice president, law and chief administrative officer of Anadarko Petroleum, based in The Woodlands, is second on the list with total compensation in 2016 totaling $6,635,811, including equity valued at $3,498,370. Next is Paula Johnson, executive vice president legal and government affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary at Houston-based Phillips 66, with a total pay package of $5,042,302 for 2016, including equity valued at $2,401,562. [See chart on page 72.]

Others near the top of the list are Anthony Lannie of Apache in Houston, Jay Browning of Valero Energy in San Antonio and Janet Langford Carrig of ConocoPhillips of Houston. The next GC on the list, Thomas Mason of Energy Transfer Equity of Dallas, posted the highest total compensation for 2015.

The seven highest-paid GCs, according to the report, are at energy companies based in Texas.

All but five of the 48 GCs on the list earned more than $1 million in total compensation in 2016, including the value of their equity compensation.

Robert Walls, executive vice president and general counsel of iHeartMedia in San Antonio, saw an 83.5 percent increase in his pay package, the largest increase among the GCs. Others with big increases in total compensation are Shella Ng, chief legal officer of Yum China Holdings of Plano, up 71.9 percent and Rachel Gonzalez, chief administrative officer of Sabre, based in Southlake, with a 59.3 percent increase.

Texas Lawyer has reported on general counsel compensation since 1993, when it reported on the 1992 compensation of Texas GCs on the Fortune 500. This year’s Corporate Roster reports on the pay packages going to GCs at 48 Texas companies on the Fortune 1000.

Methodology

To compile the Corporate Roster, Texas Lawyer examined executive compensation at Texas companies on the Fortune 1000 list, with ALM Legal Intelligence providing research. Compensation information is included in the financial reports the companies file each year with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The compensation information is included in proxy statements or 10-k reports.

In the SEC filings, the companies report the total compensation going to their chief executive officer, chief financial officer and the three other highest-paid executives. Their pay packages including salary and bonus, and the value of equity compensation that can include time-based and performance-based restricted stock or unit awards and stock or unit options.

The Corporate Roster includes two charts. “Texas’ Best-Paid General Counsel” lists the total compensation paid to the 48 GCs at Texas companies where the chief legal officer is among the five highest-paid executives. “Option Exercises and Stock Vesting” reports on the best-paid general counsel who exercised stock or unit options during 2016, or who had restricted stock or units that vested during the year.

General counsel from the other Texas companies on the Fortune 1000 do not appear on the best-paid chart because they are not among the five highest-paid executives with compensation included in their company’s financial reports. A few Texas companies do not have a general counsel.