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Top Paid CTOs

By December 24, 2014No Comments3 min read


2021 Update:

With technology so deeply embedded in business these days, there’s a greater demand for someone to lead the tech side of any growing company. While looking at historical data is always valuable (see legacy post below) today’s average salary has changed drastically. 

CTO salaries today range from $97,000 up to $350,000 with the national average settling around $160,000. When looking at the top 10 highest-paid tech executives, those figures change drastically. Several of the bottom spots on this top 10 list sit around the $3M+ range and while that’s certainly an impressive figure, the top spot takes the cake with an estimated compensation package valued at over $21M.

Keep reading for the original blog written in 2014. While accurate at the time, the information in this blog has not been updated since 2014.

A Closer Look at Today’s IT Execs

With technology so deeply embedded in business these days, there’s a greater demand for someone to lead the tech side of any growing company. The CTO, or chief technology officer, is the person in charge when it comes to technological and scientific areas within a company.
Average earnings for a CTO position come in around $171,000. That’s not a bad paycheck – that is, until you see what the highest paid CTOs earn.

Rasmus Norling and Poly Shield Technologies
Rasmus Norling served as CTO/CEO for Poly Shield Technologies and made a cool $81,845,000. The 40-something tech exec graduated from Sweden’s Hogskolan I Kalmar maritime academy. His earnings came almost exclusively from company stock. He previously worked for Royal Caribbean International and Siemens. Norling’s lucrative time with Poly Shield Technologies started in February of 2013 and ended in May of 2014.


Michael Schroepfer and Facebook
Perhaps it comes as no surprise that someone with stock in Facebook might get rich pretty quick. Michael Schroepfer earned $12,558,000 while serving as both CTO and VP of Engineering. Most of his earnings came from stock, which totaled $11.8 million along with a $359,000 bonus and $352,000 salary. 39 year old Schroepfer took up the reins as Facebook CTO in March 2013. He is also one of the three top earning CTOs who graduated from Stanford University.


Neville R. Ray and T-Mobile
Neville R. Ray earned a total of $9,140,000 serving as the CTO and VP at T-Mobile US. His base salary is the highest of the three top paid CTOs, coming to an impressive $550,000 (with a $600,000 bonus). On top of that, he brought in $2.6 million for hitting performance goals along with $5.4 million more in restricted stock options. Ray is in his 50s and graduated from the City University of London.


Kevin L. Timmons and CyrusOne
Kevin L. Timmons may not be at the top of the CTO earnings list, but he still makes more money than most of us could ever spend. Timmons received $6,850,000 in compensation as CTO of CyrusOne. He started in his role in 2011 after serving as a Microsoft general manager. His earnings came from a base salary of $312,000 plus $2.2 million in restricted stock, $78,000 in stock options, $4.2 million from incentive plan compensation and an additional $80,000 in other earnings.


Cadir B. Lee and Zynga
Cadir B. Lee is another Stanford University graduate. He served as CTO for Zynga between 2008 and 2013. Prior to his role at Zynga, he was cofounder of, an IT support and software company. His gig as CTO earned him a base salary of $264,000 plus $5.692 million in restricted stock and an additional $228,000 in other earnings.


Peng Xiao and MicroStrategy
Peng Xiao filled the role of CTO and VP at MicroStrategy, a company that offers enterprise-level software platforms. Before starting at MicroStrategy, Xiao served as the IT operations head for the Bond and Pecaro consulting firm. His CTO/VP role earned him a $556,000 salary, $575,000 bonus, $4.2 million worth of stock options, $182,000 in incentive plan compensation, plus $33,000 in other earnings.