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Battered Schlumberger reported largest CEO-to-median employee pay ratio in 2019

Schlumberger Ltd. reported the highest CEO-to-median employee pay ratio and lowest median employee compensation in the oil and gas sector in 2019 as the struggling oilfield services giant faced steep financial losses.

CEO Olivier Le Peuch was paid 313 times the median annual total compensation of $71,021, the company reported in a mandated proxy statement. Le Peuch was the seventh-highest paid oil and gas executive in 2019, raking in a total adjusted compensation of $18.1 million — a 317% increase over his 2018 package of $4.3 million. Le Peuch was promoted to CEO in August 2019.

For 2019, the company recorded a GAAP net loss of $10.1 billion, mainly due to North American land market weakness as its customers cut back on exploration and production activity in favor of capital discipline.

S&P Global Market Intelligence analyzed public disclosures for the top 20 U.S. oil and gas companies by market capitalization as of Dec. 31, 2019. The SEC requires publicly traded companies to disclose the annual compensation of their median employee and the ratio between that individual's pay and that of the chief executive officer.

Supermajor Chevron Corp. reported the second-largest ratio of CEO to median employee pay, at 236-to-1, and the median employee's total annual compensation was $140,063.

Chevron Chairman and CEO Michael Wirth's 2019 total adjusted compensation was $19.7 million, the fourth-largest executive pay package that year.

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Of the 20 oil and gas companies subject to the 2019 analysis, Kinder Morgan Inc. reported the lowest CEO pay ratio of 11-to-1 and the fourth-lowest median employee compensation at $111,546. Other pipeline companies like Enterprise Products Partners L.P. and Williams Cos. Inc. also had CEO pay ratios on the lower end of the spectrum.

Refiners Valero Energy Corp. and Marathon Petroleum Corp., meanwhile, disclosed the highest median employee pay for 2019 at $272,417 and $210,248, respectively. Those companies also occupied two of the top three spots among the highest-paid oil and gas executives in 2019.

Baker Hughes Co. and Halliburton Co. came in second and third after competitor Schlumberger when it came to the lowest median employee salary, which was $79,242 for Baker Hughes and $87,289 for Halliburton.

Of the independent oil and gas drillers on the list, Diamondback Energy Inc. had the highest CEO pay ratio of 116-to-1 and the lowest median employee compensation at $137,832, while Hess Corp. disclosed the lowest CEO pay ratio of 71-to-1 and the highest median employee compensation at $190,250.

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