It Pays To Be The Boss: 10 Highest-Paid Security Vendor CEOs

Top Of The Food Chain

Security is arguably the hottest market in technology right now, and that competition, combined with a tough market for talent, is driving CEO salaries to astronomical heights. CRN has dug into the financial filings and pulled the most recent reported numbers of the CEOs leading some of the biggest names in security. The list includes publicly traded companies focused on security that are required to disclose their executive salaries with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In this roundup alone there is more than $159 million paid out to the 10 CEOs on the list, in both a base salary and stock, a number that represents significant growth over the prior year. In fact, one CEO's salary jumped close to 1,000 percent from 2014 to 2015. Read on to see which executive out of the bunch will take home the biggest salary this year.

10. Ken Xie, CEO, Fortinet

Total In 2014: $2,474,653

Ken Xie, CEO of Fortinet, landed at the No. 10 spot with a salary in 2014 of $2,474,653. The number breaks down into $406,372 in base salary, $1,700,200 in stock and $368,081 in non-equity-based incentives based on company performance. That salary is down from a total salary of $2,514,070 in 2013. In the company's most recent earnings call, Xie defended the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company's investment strategy after stock prices plummeted more than 13 percent, saying that Fortinet was positioning itself to win over its competitors with investments in marketing, global markets and the midsize enterprise space. In the past year, those investments have included the launch of a new partner program and the $44 million acquisition of Meru Networks.

9. William "BJ" Jenkins, CEO, Barracuda Networks

Total in 2015: $4,756,450

William "BJ" Jenkins' $4,756,450 compensation package in 2015 included a base salary of $350,000, $3,979,040 in stock, a bonus of $424,375 and $3,035 in other compensation. That total salary represents a significant jump over 2014, when Jenkins made $702,937.

The bonus was determined based on "achievement of individual performance objectives," an amount up to 100 percent of his total salary that is determined by the compensation committee on the board of directors. The $3,035 in other compensation is company matching of Jenkins' 401k and group term life fringe benefits.

8. Philippe Courtot, CEO, Qualys

Total in 2014: $5,816,137

Philippe Courtot saw a huge jump in salary this year, from $444,063 in 2013 to $5,816,137 in 2014. Courtot has been CEO and chairman of the security, monitoring and compliance company since 2001. The salary broke down into a $350,000 base salary, $5,299,887 in stock awards and a $166,250 bonus. The bonus is based on a target incentive plan, where Courtot was eligible to receive up to $175,000 based on bookings growth.

7. Gary Steele, CEO, Proofpoint

Total in 2014: $5,852,199

Just edging above Qualys CEO Phillipe Courtot into the No. 7 spot was Proofpoint CEO Gary Steele, who earned $5,852,199 in 2014. That represents a jump over 2013, where Steele took home a salary of $2,160,724.

The company's report called the company's performance in 2014 "excellent," including strong growth numbers for both revenue and billings and the completion of two acquisitions (Netcitadel and Nexgate). For that reason, Steele received a significant portion of his compensation in incentives, including $2,518,200 in stock, $2,387,124 in option awards, a bonus of $496,575 and $300 in life insurance premiums.. Steele's base salary was $450,000.

6. Gary Kovacs, CEO, AVG

Total in 2014: $7,436,330

Gary Kovacs, who has been CEO of AVG since 2013, made $7,436,330 in 2014. His base salary for the year was $600,000 and $14,150 in other periodic paid compensation, with the rest of the salary coming from performance-based incentives. The periodic paid compensation could refer to "other benefits" such as housing, health-care contributions, mobile phone, or a company car. Kovacs also received $566,400 in short-term incentive bonuses, as well as $6,255,780 in long-term share options.

5. Anthony Bettencourt, CEO, Imperva

Total in 2015: $11,929,943

Anthony Bettencourt joined Imperva in August 2014, replacing CEO and founder Shlomo Kramer in the role (Kramer remains with the company as chairman of the board of directors and chief strategy officer). In 2015, he landed a salary of $11,929,943. Most of that salary was comprised of performance-based incentives, with a base salary of $140,625. He received $142,383 in a cash bonus that was paid based on performance and a stock award of $7,751,250 and an option award of $3,895,685.

4. Dave DeWalt, CEO, FireEye

Total in 2014: $13,563,500

Coming in at No. 4 is Dave DeWalt, CEO of FireEye, with a total salary of $13,563,500. DeWalt received the majority of that in performance-based incentives, with $12,846,000 in stock awards and $367,500 in a cash bonus. DeWalt is eligible for a target of a $350,000 cash bonus, equal to his base salary, but the board of directors decided to increase that limit to $367,500 "based on the level of achievement of corporate performance objectives." DeWalt earned a base salary of $350,000.

3. Michael Brown, CEO, Symantec

Total in 2015: $16,330,433

As Symantec navigates the massive task of splitting its company in two, CEO Michael Brown is being paid handsomely to lead the charge. Brown made a total of $16,330,433 in 2015. He had the second highest base salary of any security CEO, with $1,473,077. Brown received $100,000 a month until June 1, when the board decided that in recognition of his efforts and a lack of increased salary while he was interim CEO that they would raise the base salary to $200,000 a month. The rest of the money Brown took home came in the form of stock awards in the amount of $14,177,180 and a cash bonus of $658,176. Brown also received $22,000 in "other" compensation, which the company said refers to a $10,000 reimbursement for tax services and a $12,000 contribution to Brown's 401k.

2. Gil Shwed, CEO, Check Point

Total in 2014: $25,100,000

Gil Shwed, CEO of Check Point Software Technologies, technically landed at the No. 2 spot for highest-paid security CEOs with a total salary of $25,100,000. The catch? Shwed, as he has for the past several years, decided to forgo his salary for the year, though he did receive the equivalent of the required Israeli minimum wage. If he had not decided to forgo his salary, Shwed would have received a base salary of $13,300,000 (the highest of any CEO on the list) and benefit costs of $11,800,000.

1. Mark McLaughlin, CEO, Palo Alto Networks

Total in 2015: $66,606,716

Taking the No. 1 spot is Mark McLaughlin, CEO of Palo Alto Networks, with a 2015 salary of $66,606,716 -- a jump of close to 1,000 percent from 2014's salary of 6,486,000. That is more than 2.5 times the amount of competitor Check Point's CEO Gil Schwed. McLaughlin received $487,500 of the total number in base salary. The majority of McLaughlin's salary came in the form of performance-based incentive stock awards, which came to a total of $65,424,000. He also received a cash bonus of $692,750 and $2,466 in other income, which Palo Alto Networks said referred to travel expenses and a gross-up for taxes.