Chief Executive Officer / President Salary

Chief Executive Officer / President Salary


A Chief Executive Officer is known as the big man [ or woman ] who runs an entire company. You’ll often see the titles of President or Chief Operating Officer having similar job descriptions. Technically, these 3 roles are different. With that said, there are times when the titles are used interchangeably and times where 3 different people occupy those roles in the same company.

Being in the top position means you’ll do lots of administrative work but that doesn’t get you off the hook for clinic. You may still be required to do some clinical duties. The average physician CEO devotes 74% of their time to administrative duties and 26% to clinical duties.


How much you can make as a CEO depends on what industry you’re in and the success of the company you run. Let’s look at the numbers below.

In 2009, the median compensation for CEOs was $383,500. In addition, executive bonuses have been reported up to 30 percent of their compensation with the majority of bonuses being up to 20%. Let’s use the 20% marker for our calculations and that brings the total compensation for a chief executive officer to a median potential of $460,200.

Here are a list of CEOs in different healthcare industries and their salaries :

  • Dr. Charles Hart, CEO of Rapid City Regional Hospital in South Dakota [ where I did residency! ] – $547,870
  • Dr. Herb Pardes, CEO of New York Presbyterian Hospital - $2.8 million
  • Dr. Deborah Dunsire, CEO of Millennium Pharmaceuticals – $800,000 base salary
  • Ian Read, CEO of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals – $3.9 million
  • Rosemary Crane, CEO of Epocrates – $888,092

As a physician, we’re off to a great start because we have a terminal degree, an MD or a DO. We’ve already proven our determination, hard work ethic, and leadership qualities. What we lack, however, is formal business education. To lead a company of hundreds to thousands, employers look for an MBA or whether you’ve had direct management experience with successful outcomes.

Do you need an MBA? No. People have worked hard through sweat equity and risen the ranks to a CEO position before.

Can it help you get there faster? Absolutely. In a sea of resumes, an MBA can help you stand out. And, physician CEOs with MBAs have reported earning 22 percent greater than the median salary.


A Chief Executive Officer demands strong leadership and management skills responsible for steering a company towards success. The position can be extremely rewarding.  If you crave a position of power at the top of the executive ladder, a lucrative salary awaits you.


ACPE / CEJKA 2009 Physician Executive Compensation Survey
WikiInvest, “Agreement with Deborah Dunsire”
Rapid City Journal, “Board: Regional salaries around mid-range”
Crain’s New York Business, “When a $2.8 million salary isn’t enough”

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