Cheniere's Souki was 2013's top-paid U.S. exec with $142M pay package

Cheniere Energy (LNG) CEO Charif Souki emerged as the highest paid U.S. executive in 2013, with $142M in compensation that included a $133M stock award that vests as his company hits certain financial and operational goals.

Does he deserve it? You bet he does, Forbes' Christopher Helman writes; first-mover advantage means a lot, and Souki positioned the company to become the first to export liquefied natural gas produced from the U.S. shale boom.

Other gas export projects have since been approved by the U.S. and dozens more have been proposed, but the reality is that very few of them will ever be built; "by seizing opportunity and executing, [Souki] is building what will be an almost unique asset, one with guaranteed cash flow for a generation to come," Helman writes.

LNG shares have surged 30-fold since Nov. 2009.

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Comments (8)
  • Diggerdugit
    , contributor
    Comments (79) | Send Message
    I appreciate the growth of LNG over the past 3 years. However, nobody deserves $144,000,000.00 per year. Particularly from a Co. that has not produced dollar one as yet. I agree that they could well benefit by being the first, but don't believe that the Co. will be the dominant player in the LNG/CNG exporting business in the future.


    I'll wait for the pull-back before going long in LNG or CQP
    29 Apr 2014, 08:42 PM Reply Like
  • samshoe
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
    $133m in stock options when the company hits certain financial goals, that leaves 9 mil in actual pay. So calm down buddy and let the market determine what he should make or all the good executives will be working in some Asian country.
    29 Apr 2014, 10:53 PM Reply Like
  • User 23519813
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    Mel from Kent, Ct writes: " I believe that we should have laws when a company is publicly traded or publicly owned after 5 years in the PUBLICLY TRADED stock market ... the HIGHEST paid person there, should NOT be making any more than 80% than the LOWEST (5 years ) full timer paid person (& also the company to be able to be traded in the publicly held stock markets SHOULD be required to report the RATIO of full timers to part time workers , then the stock market buying public would REALLY know how they view the CEO & management)...this gives a start up company room to grow & advance & attract BIG income CEO gobblers... but NOT so much ( or to long ) a term to do irreversible damage for a long term growth or long term company " to be". In addition...ONCE a " start up" company matures/ or is considered mature by analysts (maybe when they start making/reeling in profits), then the publicly traded company should be then "PLACED" in the then publicly traded arena & the CEO's actual pay can be 80 % / 20 % pay.
    30 Apr 2014, 08:19 AM Reply Like
  • wasyman
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    So he was first in. Great, and if he owns stock he will be greatly reimbursed. But $144 million for one year, in addition, too much and very unreasonable.
    29 Apr 2014, 10:56 PM Reply Like
  • RycheMykol
    , contributor
    Comments (366) | Send Message
    Does this company even make any money? No, it doesn't.
    He's done wonders for the stock price though.
    30 Apr 2014, 09:50 AM Reply Like
  • Diggerdugit
    , contributor
    Comments (79) | Send Message
    I stand by my original statement- "Nobody" is worth $144 mil per annum. Even if it is in the form of stock options. Besides, the market is not making the determination. A well compensated BOD is.
    30 Apr 2014, 11:47 AM Reply Like
  • tealone
    , contributor
    Comments (318) | Send Message
    Seems that a publicly owned company would figure out a way to incorporate shareholders opinion on annual pay amounts, especially when excess of a few $million. The board should decide what amount CEOs make..., but a figure should first be passed to all shareholders for a "non-binding" vote of agreement. The board doesn't have to pay any attention to the share holder vote of agreement (approval), but they could at least take the vote results into consideration. Boards have a tendency to scratch each others back, especially during good times, but I also think it can be the "back scratching" that can lead to complacency. With some sort of shareholder input, at least there is opinion outside of the Board.
    30 Apr 2014, 12:12 PM Reply Like
  • alphasw
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    Far too much for a Company yet to make money, and with huge debt. This deters me from going long. I prefer Cos like WDAY where the CEO takes only $38,000 per year.
    2 May 2014, 02:25 AM Reply Like
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