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Supercell founders among biggest earners of 2015

Clan leaders at the hugely successful Finnish gaming firm Supercell have seen their pay packets grow dramatically since 2015. Six of Finland’s 10 biggest earners in 2015 work for studio as gamemakers eclipsed traditional industrials in terms of their earning power.

Ilkka Paananen.
Supercell founder Ilkka Paananen. Image: Yle

It’s no secret that top executives at moneymaking game companies earn well. Tax and earnings data released by the Finnish Tax Administration Tuesday in Finland’s annual orgy of rubber-necking show that clan chiefs at the country’s most successful game firm Supercell are among last year’s top income earners – and Supercellers have six of the ten largest pay packets.

Supercell founders Ilkka Paananen and Mikko Kodisoja both had generous payslips, earning 12.3 million and 10.7 million euros respectively. Meanwhile game designer Lasse Louhento posted a respectable 7.3 million euros in earnings in 2015. All saw their incomes rise substantially over 2015 figures to surpass even the top earners last year.

Last year Louhento claimed the honour of earning the highest taxable income in the country – at just over six million euros.

Other Supercell top executives also featured on 2015’s list of top earners – they included Jouni Utriainen (4.2 million euros), Visa Forsten (3.6 million euros) and Nicholas Derome (3.6 million euros).

Otherwise, authorities estimated that the average salary in Finland in 2015 leveled out at about 41,000 euros.

Kone, Sampo and Metsä left behind

Last year’s income data showed leaders of traditional industries trailing the big money earners in the digital entertainment sector. For example, Henrik Ehrnrooth, chief executive of elevator company Kone racked up earnings of 4.6 million euros in 2015.

Sampo financial group director Kari Stadigh pocketed an annual pay packet that amounted to 4.5 million euros and chair of Metsä Group Kari Jordan earned 3.8 million euros.

Women also losing ground

Meanwhile the number of women in the top 100 earners of 2015 fell to 13 from 15 in 2014, if both capital and earned income are tallied. By this reckoning, just four women bagged enough of the combined incomes to reach the top 50.

The top-earning woman in 2015 was Rafaela Seppälä, who reached 17th position on the list of top earners. The majority of her earnings last year – 9.3 million euros - came from investment income and her tax rate was 32 percent.

After Seppälä, the highest-earning women in 2015 were Elsa Fromond, a member of the Ehrnrooth industrial dynasty, Fazer heiress Majlen Fazer and Anne Urrila, of the IT firm Solibri.

Women were even worse-represented on the list of top income earners, with just nine making the top 100. The woman with the biggest pay packet in 2015 was Supercell game lead Drussila Hollanda-Grönberg. That accomplishment placed her in 25th position among the country’s best-paid professionals. Just 32 years old, Hollanda-Grönberg made 2.2 million euros last year, but her earnings were subject to a tax rate of 51.2 percent.

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