Proliferating European Union (EU) interventions and national governance initiatives on pay make it a particularly interesting time to examine the landscape of executive compensation across Europe.  A new study conducted by Towers Watson of board pay in the Eurotop 100 sheds light on how that landscape has evolved in the past year. Among the key findings:

  • Pay levels vary widely across the Eurotop 100 (as does company size), with top end pay packages found in Switzerland and Spain. The U.K. ranked fourth highest-paying country, while the most modest executive pay packages were found in the Nordic countries.
  • German CEOs have the highest portion of variable pay (76%), while incentives for Nordic CEOs represent merely a third of the total pay package.
  • Performance shares may be the dominant long-term incentive vehicle in Europe, but Eurotop 100 companies use a range of vehicles, such as cash plans and restricted shares.

For our report summarizing Eurotop compensation levels, incentive design practices and recent corporate governance developments across Europe, contact your usual Towers Watson consultant. Our analysis covers the 97 companies in the Eurotop 100 that published their remuneration reports as of June 30, 2013. Additional data and detailed analyses, including sectoral cuts, are also available.


Sonia Padda 

Sonia Padda

Towers Watson London

Sonia Padda is an executive compensation consultant in Towers Watson’s London office who played a lead role in the research. Email or