It's one of the biggest year-over-year increases in Plastics News ranking of the industry's top-earning executives in North America. A 62.5 percent increase, to be precise. But it's not a massive stock gain or impressive payout. It's the number of women who made the list, which has increased from eight to 13.
And for the first time, there's a woman in the top 25.
Carol Lowe, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Sealed Air Corp. comes in at No. 25 with $3.3 million in total compensation for a 73.7 percent overall increase.
Lowe's base salary only increased about 4 percent, from $540,313 to $562,394 with the vast majority of the boost coming from stock awards, which went from $908,602 to $2.1 million. Lowe jumped 19 positions in the Plastics News ranking from No. 44 last year and is the first female executive to crack the list's top 25, spinning up quickly after joining the company in June 2012, about the same timeframe Jerome Peribere's star was rising from chief operating officer to his current post as president and CEO.
While it may look a like a Grand Canyon-sized gap between Peribere's $11.9 million compensation package for 2014 and Lowe's $3.3 million for the same year, the Sealed Air executives are actually right on target with most other major North American companies.
According to Equilar, the California-based executive compensation research firm that compiled Plastics News' ranking data, the median CEO pay package among S&P 500 companies totaled $10.3 million for 2014 and $3.3 million for CFOs.
Sealed Air's Lowe also is the highest paid non-CEO on the list, noted Equilar's Dan Marcec.
“It may have taken some time to get the compensation package totally fulfilled but Sealed Air is right on target here and [Lowe's] pay seems in line with her position,” he said.
Even more notably, Lowe's pay package seems commensurate with her position as chief financial officer overall, rather than hemmed in by a C-suite glass ceiling women sometimes find themselves under.
Among women executives on the list, Lowe is followed by fellow Sealed Air exec Ilham Kadri, president of the Diversey Care Division, who joined the company in January 2013 and made her debut on the Plastics News executive pay ranking last year at No. 48. This year, Kadri is catapulted to No. 36 with a $2.6 million total pay package, a nearly 53 percent pay increase. Her compensation package is primarily bolstered by $1.5 million in stock awards, nearly matching her total take of $1.7 million in the previous year.
Under Kadri, Sealed Air's Diversey has inked a five-year global contract with Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group to help maintain its more than 1,300 hotels in 105 countries around the world and the April purchase of Intellibot Robotics LLC, a privately owned company that develops robotic commercial floor cleaning machines, for an undisclosed amount.
Last year's list-topping female executive, Nancy Taylor, president and CEO of Tredegar Corp., abruptly departed the company June 25. Taylor drops to No. 46 from No. 30 — although she still ranks as the fourth-highest paid among women in the plastics industry with a $1.9 million in total pay for 2014.
According to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, upon her June 2015 departure, Taylor received a lump-sum cash payment of nearly $1.9 million, which includes about $1.5 million in severance, a $327,770 pro-rated performance-based bonus and $61,000 in earned but unused vacation time. Taylor's outstanding stock options will be fully vested and along with restricted common stock and performance-based stock awards, though no amount for those holdings was listed.
Female newcomers to the rankings include:
• Newell Rubbermaid Inc.'s Paula Larson, who joined the company as an executive vice president and chief human resources officer in December 2013, with a $2 million pay package, at No. 43.
• Tupperware Brands Corp. Group President for Asia-Pacific operations Asha Gupta, at No. 72 with a $14 million total compensation package for 2014. Joining the company in January 2014, Gupta is the first woman to lead the direct-sales food storage brand in the region, spanning 15 countries including India, China, Japan and Australia.
• PolyOne's departing Senior Vice President and President of Designed Structures and Solutions Julie McAlindon at No. 81, with a $1.2 million pay package for 2014.