Report: MN's top CEOs were paid 305 times more than average worker last year

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Chief executives at Minnesota's biggest companies earned 305 times more than the average worker last year, figures from the AFL-CIO labor union show.

The average pay packet for the CEO of a Minnesota company listed on the S&P 500 index in 2014 was just under $13.9 million, compared to the $45,597 salary of the average Minnesota worker, the figures reveal.

Topping the list is Target CEO Brian Cornell, who was parachuted in last July to steer the company back into calmer waters after a turbulent few years, and received $28.1 million for his trouble – 779 times the average worker.

It was revealed Cornell would get base salary of $1.3 million after he was taken on by the Minneapolis-based retailer, but would also receive millions more in incentives, stock and equity grants.

Behind Cornell at the top of the CEO pay list is Ameriprise Financial's James Cracchiolo, who trousered a cool $24.45 million, and St. Paul-based Travelers Companies' Jay Fishman, who pocketed $20.4 million.

Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson said in a news release the figures are an argument against corporate tax cuts in the state.

"The massive pay raises for Minnesota's big corporate CEOs while too many struggle to get by shows what happens when the deck is stacked against working families," he said.

The Business Journal reports the data was calculated using executive pay disclosures in companies' regulatory filings, compared with Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data.

Even with the wide gulf between executive and worker pay, Minnesotans earned more than national workers on average, which according to the AFL-CIO was $36,000 in 2014.

Also, the gap in Minnesota is smaller than the national average for S&P 500 CEO pay, the Business Journal notes, which at $13.5 million is 373 times what the average U.S. worker makes.

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