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Following a Static Year, Public Company CEO Pay Jumps 11 Percent

Executive pay stalled in 2009 while the U.S. weathered the heat of the recession, but now things are on the upswing. Matching increases in net income at many companies, executives are now seeing a huge increase in pay packages. With shareholders enjoying a median return of 18%, chief executives of public companies took home around 11% more than they did last year.

In 2010, American businesses started to bounce back. And so did executive compensation packages. The Wall Street Journal compiled compensation information on 350 of America’s largest public companies and found that the median pay (salaries, bonuses, stock, stock options, and long-term incentives) was $9.3 million, an increase of 11%.

In the depths of the recession, these CEOs steered their companies into better positions in their markets. The median rise in net income for these companies was 17% and the median returns enjoyed by shareholders were 18%. The rise in CEO compensation is smaller than the increase in company and shareholder results.

The Wall Street Journal does not expect raises and bonuses will increase in 2011 quite the same way that they did in 2010. There will be higher shareholder oversight; Say-on-Pay takes effect. But don’t feel too sorry for these public company CEOs.

Here’s who came out on top:

  1. Philippe Dauman (Viacom): $84.3 million
  2. Lawrence Ellison (Oracle): $68.6 million
  3. Leslie Moonves (CBS): $53.9 million
  4. Martin Franklin (Jarden) $45.2 million
  5. Michael White (DIRECTV): $32.6 million
  6. John Lundgren (Stanley Black & Decker): $32.2 million
  7. Richard Adkerson (Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold) $30.6 million
  8. Robert Iger (Disney): $27.2 million
  9. Donald Stebbins (Visteon): $26.8 million
  10. Jeffrey Bewkes (Time Warner): $26 million

The Wall Street Journal survey only covered the CEOs of the largest public companies. Chief Executive Group is currently conducting groundbreaking research on private company compensation practices. If you’d like to participate in that study and get a free executive summary, click here:

For Additional Information Read: The Year’s Highest-Paid CEOs, The Wall Street Journal Survey of CEO Compensation, and Raises, Bonuses to Slow

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