Business and Finance

The Highest Paid Female CEO In America Is Transgender

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Out of all of the Fortune 500 companies, only 5% have a female CEO. Out of the 200 highest paid CEOs in America last year, only 11 were women.  Some of these women are pretty well known, such as Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Hewlett-Packard’s Meg Whitman. But neither Marissa nor Meg are the highest paid female CEO in the country. Marissa ranked #34 with $24.9 million in earnings and Meg ranked #95 with $17.6 million. The highest paid female CEO last year was Martine Rothblatt. Martine is the 59-year old founder and CEO of United Therapeutics, a publicly traded pharmaceutical company based in Silver Spring, Maryland. She was the 10th highest paid CEO in the US last year with $38 million in earnings. Oh, and here’s one more interesting fact about Martine: She was born a man.

Oh and in case you were wondering, the #1 highest paid CEO in America last year was Charif Souki, Chairman, President and CEO of Cheniere Energy. Charif Souki took home $141,949,280 in 2013.

Martine Rothblatt has had one heck of a career. Prior to United Therapeutics, she helped co-founded both Sirius Radio and a company called GeoStar. She made a massive personal fortune along the way. She is an attorney, entrepreneur, author, spouse, and parent. This is the amazing story of her life and career.


Martine was born Martin Rothblatt in Chicago to Jewish parents.  She grew up in San Diego and Los Angeles. She attended college at UCLA, but left after two years to travel throughout Europe, Turkey, Iran, Kenya, and the Seychelles. While she was in the Seychelles in the summer of 1974 she visited the NASA tracking station and had a life changing (and fortune making) idea. That idea was to unite the world via satellite communications. She returned home and re-enrolled at UCLA, graduating summa cum laude in communications studies. Her thesis was on international direct broadcast satellites. While in graduate school, Rothblatt published five articles on the law of satellite communications and prepared a business plan for the Hughes Space and Communications on how satellite technology could be used to provide communication service to multiple Latin American countries.

In 1981, she received her joint MBA-JD from UCLA and was hired by the Washington, D.C. law firm Covington & Burling to represent the television broadcast industry before the FCC. She covered the areas of direct broadcast satellites and spread spectrum communications. After a year, she left that job to study astronomy at the University of Maryland. NASA then hired her to obtain FCC approval for the system on its tracking and data relay satellites. From there, Rothblatt helped launch GeoStar, the first satellite car location system. She was named CEO by 1986. In 1990, she left GeoStar to co-found Sirius Satellite Radio. She left Sirius in 1992. It was around this time that she began to transition from Martin to Martine.

By Amy Lamare

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