By Patrick Thomas
It's been a volatile year at the top of the semiconductor and hardware business.
Four of the 21 largest such firms in the S&P 500 sector switched CEOs this year, and some of them were among the highest paid in the industry, according to The Wall Street Journal's analysis of pay data from MyLogIQ LLC.
Intel Corp. CEO Brian Krzanich resigned in June for violating company policy by having a relationship with a co-worker. Mr. Krzanich was the second-highest paid of the group at $21.5 million.
Texas Instruments Inc. changed CEOs in July when Brian Crutcher resigned for violating the company's code of conduct related to personal behavior. Richard Templeton, who had stepped down as chief in January after 14 years in the role, reassumed his previous duties and made about $16.5 million in 2017.
Xerox Corp.'s Jeffrey Jacobson, who was forced to resign as CEO earlier this year amid pressure from activist investors, was paid $9.5 million in his first and only full year as head of the company. His ouster came after Xerox backed out of a merger deal with Fujifilm Holdings Corp.
Meg Whitman, who left Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. last November and moved to Los Angeles for a job running a mobile video startup called NewTV, was the third highest-paid CEO in the sector at $17.1 million. From 2011 to 2015, Ms. Whitman was CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co., overseeing the separation of the company into Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc.
Turnover aside, most companies in the chips and hardware group performed well, with a median shareholder return of 31.8%, well above the overall S&P 500's shareholder return of 19%. Total shareholder return reflects share-price appreciation and dividends.
Only two companies of the 21 in the sector posted negative shareholder returns for 2017. Qualcomm Inc. was one of them, with a shareholder return of negative 21.4%; the other was Advanced Micro Devices Inc. at negative 9.3%. Qualcomm CEO Steven Mollenkopf made $11.6 million for the year. AMD's CEO, Lisa Su, made $10.9 million.
The median pay for the group's CEOs was about $12.8 million, slightly above the median pay for the whole S&P 500 of $12.1 million.
Hock Tan, chief executive of the semiconductor company Broadcom Inc., was the highest-paid boss in the sector and in the entire S&P 500 with more than $103 million in compensation, quadrupling what he made the previous year.
Mr. Tan's compensation mostly consisted of $98 million in stock as part of a long-term equity award linked to company performance, according to regulatory filings.
"Over the last five years, Broadcom has generated total shareholder return of more than 550%. Mr. Tan's compensation package is clearly aligned with and designed to drive sustained shareholder value," a company spokesman said.
Broadcom's shareholder returns for 2017 were 58%.
The Journal analysis excluded CEOs who changed jobs during the year or served less than a full year. See the full list of chip and hardware companies here: