WSJ: Cheniere Energy head paid more than top five Exxon executives

The head of Cheniere Energy Inc., which is developing a liquefied natural gas export facility in Cameron Parish, received a compensation package valued at $142 million in 2013, an amount nearly double the combined pay of Exxon Mobil’s top five executives, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Charif Souki’s payday “would dwarf anyone I’m familiar with in the Fortune 50,” Alan Johnson, managing director at New York-based compensation consultant Johnson Associates, told the Journal. “Is he worth more than all the senior executives at Exxon XOM +0.28% put together?”

By comparison, Exxon Mobil Corp., the largest U.S. energy company with a market capitalization 35 times as large as Cheniere, paid its top five executives combined compensation valued at $76 million last year, including $28 million to its CEO.

Souki’s compensation included $133 million in stock. His pay was thought to be the largest of any executive in the United States, according to Equilar Inc., which tracks executive pay.

Cheniere has never turned a profit since its founding in 1996. Five years ago, the company’s shares traded at less than $2. But the company’s 180 from natural gas importer to exporter, and the first export license to lucrative markets like Asia, have helped push shares to around $56. Share prices doubled in 2013, as the company lined up contract after contract for its LNG.

The company estimates those contracts will generate $2.3 billion a year by 2017.