This study tests the implications of tournament theory using data on 100 U.K. stock market companies, covering over 500 individual executives, in the late 1990s. Our results provide some evidence consistent with the operation of tournament mechanisms within the U.K. business context. Firstly, we find a convex relationship between executive pay and organizational level and secondly, that the gap between CEO pay and other board executives (i.e., tournament prize) is positively related to the number of participants in the tournament. However, we also show that the variation in executive team pay has little role in determining company performance. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.