Number of seven-figure AIM salaries reaches pre-crisis level

The Alternative Investment Market now has 24 CEOs who earn more than £1 million.

The Alternative Investment Market now has 24 CEOs who earn more than £1 million.

Mega salary levels on London’s junior market are back to pre-Lehman Brothers collapse levels, new statistics show.

As part of research conducted by GrowthBusiness parent company Vitesse Media, findings reveal that 24 Alternative Investment Market (AIM) CEOs now earn more than £1 million.

While statistics from the 2008 report showed an identical number of high-earning company heads, the figures plummeted to five in 2009 – before recovering slightly to 13 in 2010 and 16 in 2011 (see table below).

The research, which has been compiled in association with sister title Growth Company Investor, also shows that the number of CEOs earning more than £500,000 has grown to an all-time high of 108.

Looking back over the three previous years, the number pocketing more than £500,000 has steadily risen from 63, to 90, to its current level of 108, which represents 11.5 per cent of all CEOs in the survey.

Highest-paid directors
  2009 report 2010 report 2011 report 2012 report 2013 report
CEOs earning more than £500,000 86 56 63 90 108
as % of all CEOs in survey 9.6% 6.9% 5.8% 11.2% 11.5%
CEOs earning more than £1 million 24 5 13 16 24
as % of all CEOs in survey 2.7% 0.6% 1.2% 2.0% 2.6%
Boards earning more than £1 million 173 156 151 134 158
as % of all bards in survey 16.3% 15.9% 13.8% 16.3% 16.6%











The highest salary recorded on AIM was paid to Todd Kozel, the executive chairman of Gulf Keystone Petroleum, who walked away with £14.1 million in 2011.

Kozel’s pay, of which £12 million was in the form of a share-based bonus, represented 321 per cent of turnover after the company netted £4.4 million.

In total, five other AIM CEO’s took home more than £2 million, with all but one turning over more than Gulf Keystone Petroleum.

More on previous Directors’ Pay on AIM reports:

A preponderance of resource-orientated companies has been noted among the highest-paid directors. Four of the top ten are in the oil and gas sector, with two in mining. Another, Sea Energy, has oil and gas interests as well as renewable energy operations.

Bonuses continue to represent the lion’s share of total remuneration, with only one top ten CEO possessing a basic salary which represents most of his pay.

The median CEO pay for 2012 was £202,498, a small rise on the £200,352 noted in the 2011 study.

This year’s findings also reveal that 57 per cent of CEOs who served for the last two financial periods saw a rise in total pay. Some 10 per cent suffered a pay freeze and 33 per cent endured a cut. The figures largely mirror those found in 2011 when percentages of 57, 11 and 32 were noted.

The full report, Directors’ Pay on AIM 2013, contains pay details for 1000 AIM companies as well as analysis by company turnover and profitability, market capitalisation and sector. The term CEO is used when referring to the highest-paid director on the board. It is available to purchase here.

Hunter Ruthven

Bernard Williamson

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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