(Story updated on March 9, 2017)
Milton Johnson, CEO of HCA Holdings, earned $21.3 million last year, nearly 20% more than what he received in compensation for 2015, according to HCA's new proxy statement.
Johnson earned less in cash bonuses and stock awards last year than the prior year. But a spike in the value of his pension and deferred compensation from $3.8 million to $9.5 million resulted in the total year-over-year gain, the documents show.
Nashville-based HCA is the nation's largest investor-owned hospital company with 169 hospitals and 2016 revenue of $41.5 billion. The health system is fiscally healthy, with a net income of $2.9 billion in 2016 compared with $2.1 billion in 2015.
Johnson's cash bonus dropped to $1.9 million last year compared with $4.3 million the year before. The decline resulted from HCA missing some financial targets for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization as well as some quality targets, notably due to MRSA at HCA facilities, according to the proxy.
President Sam Hazen was HCA's next highest-paid executive, receiving $8.8 million last year compared to $7 million the year before, up about 26%. Like Johnson, the increase was predominantly due to a jump in pension and deferred compensation.
Chief Financial Officer William Rutherford earned $4.1 million, essentially flat compensation in comparison with 2015.
"HCA’s primary objective is to provide the highest quality healthcare to our patients, and our executive compensation philosophy is centered around creating a strong, positive link between our performance and compensation," a company spokesperson wrote in an email.