In 2017, the median total remuneration (including fixed salary, bonuses and income from share options) was €1,975,000 for company leaders on the Bel 20 (€2,080,000 in 2016).
Only Swedish CEOs reap a median remuneration less than the Belgians, with €1.74 million per year. On the other hand, leaders of large companies from other countries earn more: €3,590,000 in the Netherlands, €6,205,000 in Germany, €4,440,000 in France, €3,830,000 in the United Kingdom and €3,245,000 in Switzerland.
However it would be “wrong” to deduce from the findings that Belgian CEOs are amongst the less well-paid business leaders. The study authors, the professor, Xavier Baeten, and the researchers, Said Loyens and Bettina De Ruyck, highlight, “Taking account of company size, statistical methods enable us to establish that only the CEOs of German companies and companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange in the United Kingdom earn significantly more than the CEOs of Belgian companies quoted on the stock exchange. The salary differential between Belgian and German CEOs and Belgian and UK CEOs averages respectively 35% and 29%.”
The authors also concluded that current remuneration practices do not encourage company leaders enough in their concern for environmental aspects and the creation of long-term value for shareholders.