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Eric: And I’m Eric. In this lesson, we'll talk about the most powerful and richest CEOs in finance.
Becky: It’s difficult to say which CEO is better than the others. Is a CEO who grows a small company to a big one more successful than the CEO who owns the world’s largest company? Or, is the most successful CEO the one with the greatest social impact?
Eric: So, to avoid confusion, we’ve ordered these top five CEOs according to their total yearly compensation.
Becky: That just means number five makes less money than number four, and number one makes more money than any of them.
Eric: Okay, let’s get to it!
Becky: Number 5 in our Top 5 CEOs in Finance is Arthur F Ryan.
Eric: Oh. Who’s that?
Becky: Exactly. When we started researching the top CEOs in finance, we realized that they’re not a very public bunch.
Eric: Yeah. Before working on this lesson, I’d never heard of any of these guys.
Becky: Maybe it’s because we’re not rich?
Eric: Maybe, but let’s get back to Ryan.
Becky: Right. Ryan is the current CEO of Prudential Financial. Prudential used to handle mostly life insurance, but they’ve expanded over the past 20 years.
Eric: However, they didn’t expand very well. Within just a few years of expanding into other financial markets, Prudential had lost over $2 billion in lawsuits and fines because of misconduct.
Becky: This is when Ryan was placed as the CEO of Prudential. He turned Prudential around and kept them from bankruptcy.
Eric: That’s right. Without his leadership, Prudential probably wouldn’t exist anymore.
Becky: He restructured the business, and reduced operating costs across the board.
Eric: And he did all this in a matter of just a few years. However, his big achievement was taking Prudential from a medium-sized private insurance firm to a huge public financial institution.
Becky: It’s an impressive feat. He’s been the CEO and chairman of Prudential since 1994.
Becky: Who’s next on our list?
Eric: Number 4 in our Top 5 CEOs in Finance is Robert H. Benmosche.
Becky: Benmosche was the CEO of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, often called MetLife for short.
Eric: Benmosche is an interesting character because he, like Arthur Ryan for him, was able to turn MetLife from a small private company into a large public company during his time as CEO.
Becky: The difference here is that Benmosche retired in 2006. However, he still worked as the CEO of American International Group or AIG after that. AIG is an international insurance company.
Eric: AIG was severely criticized during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, because it had insured more people and more policies than it was able to pay.
Becky: In other words, they owed people more money than they had.
Eric: It was decided they were “too big to fail.” This means that if they collapsed, so many people, institutions, and even countries would be affected, that the effect would be damaging. So, AIG received an $85 billion loan from the federal government so that they could survive.
Becky: However, this was before Benmoshe became CEO. Since then, AIG has been recovering from the financial crisis.
Eric: Benmosche made roughly $3 million in salary per year, and including bonuses and other stock options he made roughly $7 million a year.
Becky: Which brings us to our next CEO. Who is it?
Eric: Number 3 of our top 5 CEOs in finance is David Simon.
Becky: David Simon is the CEO and chairman of the board for Simon Property group. Now, before doing this lesson I had never heard of the Simon Property group.
Eric: But the Simon Property group is the largest publicly traded real estate company in the United States.
Becky: It’s such a big company that it’s listed on the Standard and Poor's 500 Index, which is a list of the 500 best companies to invest in.
Eric: He’s a hard worker and is often referred to as “hard-nosed,” which means that he can be kind of tough, especially in business negotiations.
Becky: However, that “hard-nosed” attitude has paid off and Simon receives a yearly compensation package of roughly $6.5 million.
Eric: Next on our list of the top five CEOs in finance is Craig S. Donohue.
Becky: Donohue is the Chief Executive Officer of the CME group. In a previous lesson, we talked about the incredible power and influence that the CME group has over the world’s finances.
Eric: Donohue became CEO of CME Holding Inc. in January 2004. In 2007 CME Holding Inc. merged with the Chicago Board of Trade and became the CME Group we know today. Donohue stayed on as CEO and still is today.
Becky: Donohue was also instrumental in the formation of the CME group. Beyond that, he also played a lead role in expanding the core business of the CME group.
Eric: Donohue also orchestrated the transition of the CME group from a private company to becoming the first publicly traded financial exchange in the United States.
Becky: At 44 years old, Donohue is the youngest CEO on our list and his yearly earnings total around $8.6 million.
Eric: And number 1 in our top 5 CEOs in Finance is William A. Osborn.
Becky: Osborne is currently 64 years old and was the CEO of Northern Trust Corporation for 14 years.
Eric: Technically, he’s no longer the CEO of Northern Trust, but he’s still on the board of directors.
Becky: He’s also on the Board of Directors for Northwestern University, Caterpillar Incorporated, Tribune Company, and Abbott Laboratories.
Eric: Mr. Osborne makes a total yearly compensation of $9.7 million. This comes from his salary, stocks, options, and his retirement pension.
Becky: He’s also on the Board of Trustees for the Museum of Science and Industry, and Chairman of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.
Eric: He’s also on the Board of Directors for Northwestern Memorial Health Care, the Chicago Urban League, the Renaissance Schools Fund, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Wow, he sounds like a busy man!
Becky: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time!
Eric: Bye!

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