10. Scott Taylor, Symantec Corp. Software company Symantec’s GC earned $1,318,374 in cash compensation last year, bringing him into California’s top 10 and into the top 100 pay rankings nationwide. Taylor became the Mountain View-based company’s GC in 2008.
9. Martha B. Wyrsch, Sempra Energy Wyrsch is cooking with gas—the Sempra Energy GC is the ninth highest earning general counsel in California and the 75th nationwide, with a 2017 cash compensation of $1,429,100. She’s seen the San Diego-based company through an expansion outside of the gas industry with the purchase of Oncor Electric Delivery Co. in Texas.
8. Michael Rowles, Live Nation Entertainment Inc. Beverly Hills found a spot on the list with the inclusion of entertainment industry GC Michael Rowles. Last year, Rowles brought home $1,500,000, split evenly between salary and nonequity incentive cash compensation.
7. Brian Woram, KB Home. Over in Los Angeles, KB Home paid its GC Brian Woram $1,746,196 last year. Woram cracked the top 50 nationwide, coming in at No. 42. This is his first year on the national compensation survey.
6. Jonathan Graham, Amgen Inc. Working in a highly regulated and highly profitable industry has its benefits. Especially for Graham, who earned $1,790,577 in 2017. Graham, who joined Amgen in 2015, had a salary of $932,577 and nonequity incentive compensation of $858,000.
5. Kelly Mahon Tullier, Visa Inc. Tullier is the highest paid female GC in California, earning $1,953,623 last year. A winner of Corporate Counsel’s Transformative Leadership award for banking and finance in 2017, she has said one key to being a successful GC “is to evolve to being less of a 'doer' and more of a leader.” Clearly, that philosophy has served her well.
4. Edward Nekritz, Prologis Inc. San Francisco is pricier than ever, though that might be good news for Nekritz. As the longtime CLO and GC of industrial real estate company Prologis, Nekritz made his comp list debut at No. 4 in California, and No. 20 nationwide with a total cash compensation of $2,251,699 in 2017.
3. Todd Molz, Oaktree Capital Group Alternative investment firm Oaktree Capital Group’s GC has neared the top of the comp list for the second year in a row. Last year, Molz earned $3,000,000 and moved up a spot from 12th to 11th in top pay nationwide.
2. David Hyman, Netflix Inc. As entertainment tech company Netflix has become a household name, Hyman’s had salary growth to match. Now the 10th highest paid in-house leader nationwide, Hyman brought home $3,369,538 in cash compensation in 2017, as well as $12,012,545 in stock value realized on exercise.
1. Alan Braverman, The Walt Disney Co. While Braverman no longer tops the national list of highest paid GCs, where he reigned from 2015 to 2016, he’s still the winner in California. In 2017, the Disney CLO earned $5,165,000 in cash compensation, landing him in fourth place nationwide. (Photo: Dustin Snipes)
They don’t call it the Golden State for nothing. California has no shortage of highly valued and highly paid in-house lawyers.
Corporate Counsel’s 2018 GC Compensation Survey found nearly 40 of the Fortune 1000’s best compensated legal leaders are from companies based in California. Two GCs from these companies even broke into the survey’s top 10.
The survey comes from ALM Intelligence, an affiliate of The Recorder, which analyzed Fortune 1000 companies’ proxy filings, to find out how much the best-paid GCs are making. The lawyers were then ranked by their total cash compensation, a metric that combines base salary, bonus and nonequity incentives.
California company GCs with the highest cash compensation come from some predictable industries—tech and entertainment. But they also came from real estate, pharmaceuticals and securities.
Here’s a list of this year’s California top 10.