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Executive Pay 2019 Top 10 List: What does it take to get a 274 percent raise?

Eight local bosses got triple-digit pay hikes
Posted: 5:00 AM, May 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-23 21:58:07Z
Tax bill beginning to deliver bigger paychecks to workers

Correction: An earlier version of this list included a Kroger Co. executive whose raise was miscalculated.

This year’s list of the biggest raises at Cincinnati-based public companies demonstrates three ways bosses can boost their pay: Get a deal done, get promoted or get fired.

RELATED: Could your family survive on 'median pay' from local public companies?

Eight local executives scored triple-digit raises in 2018. Three of them were Worldpay Inc. executives who pulled off a $10.4 billion acquisition of a British payment-processing company. That deal was announced in the August 2017 and led to special incentive awards in 2018.

A different kind of deal led to more than $600,000 in stock-based compensation for two executives of Eagle Bancorp., which converted from a mutual savings bank to a public company in 2017.

E.W. Scripps Co. CEO Adam Symson announced or completed four acquisitions in the last year. But much of his 2018 pay increase came from his 2017 promotion to the CEO role for Scripps, parent company of WCPO.

Promotions were also a factor in pay raises for executives at Macy’s Inc. and LSI Industries Inc. Meridian Bioscience Inc. paid $2 million in separation payments to two executives it fired in 2018.

It's important to note that stock awards are not cash in hand. They represent the estimated value of stock grants that vest over time and require the achievement of performance goals to fully realize.

That said, they were a huge factor for the local public company executives who scored the biggest raises in 2018:


#10 Adam Symson
CEO, E.W. Scripps Co.

2018 total compensation: $3,384,554
Raise: 77.2%
Total shareholder return (1yr): 2%
Total shareholder return (3yr): -16.1%


#9 Danielle Kirgan
Chief Human Resources Officer, Macy’s Inc.

2018 total compensation: $3,144,983
Raise: 92.7%
Total shareholder return (1yr): 8.1%
Total shareholder return (3yr): -26.4%


#8 Richard Eberly
Former Executive VP, Meridian Bioscience Inc.

2018 total compensation: $1,479,958
Raise: 134.1%
Total shareholder return (1yr): 7.8%
Total shareholder return (3yr): -2.3%


#7 James Galeese
CFO, LSI Industries Inc.

2018 total compensation: $500,717
Raise: 135%
Total shareholder return (1yr): -39.1%
Total shareholder return (3yr): -38.7%


#6 Mark Heimbouch
President and COO, Worldpay Inc.

2018 total compensation: $10,087,242
Raise: 146.7%
Total shareholder return (1yr): 3.9%
Total shareholder return (3yr): 61.2%


#5 Marco Calzavara
Former president of Europe division, Meridian Bioscience Inc.

2018 total compensation: $1,284,108
Raise: 147.4%
Total shareholder return (1yr): 7.8%
Total shareholder return (3yr): -2.3%


#4 Patricia Walter
Executive VP, Eagle Financial Bancorp.

2018 total compensation: $408,088
Raise: 148.2%
Total shareholder return (1yr): -6.2%
Total shareholder return (3yr): N/A


#3 Gary Koester
CEO, Eagle Financial Bancorp.

2018 total compensation: $666,021
Raise: 170.9%
Total shareholder return (1yr): -6.2%
Total shareholder return (3yr): N/A


#2 Stephanie Ferris
Chief Financial Officer, Worldpay Inc.

2018 total compensation: $8,253,927
Raise: 243.6%
Total shareholder return (1yr): 3.9%
Total shareholder return (3yr): 61.2%


#1 Royal Cole
Executive VP, Worldpay Inc.

2018 total compensation: $7,371,437
Raise: 274%
Total shareholder return (1yr): 3.9%
Total shareholder return (3yr): 61.2%


WCPO obtained compensation data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, which pulled it from annual proxy statements companies filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Specifically, compensation data from the "summary compensation table" in each company's proxy document was analyzed. The pay category Changes in Pension Value was excluded from tabulations, because it is an actuarial estimate and does not reflect actual gains and losses. S&P Global Market Intelligence also provided numbers on total shareholder return, which measures the increase or decrease in stock price plus dividends in each company’s last three fiscal years.