The Cats Get Fatter – CEO Pay Rises 36 Percent

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Momma, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Do, however, encourage them to land a job as the CEO of a big company.

Here’s something the Occupy Movement can sink its teeth into: While the average American’s pay has been stagnate for years, CEO pay continues to run amok.

Below is part of a press release from research firm GMI. You can see the full press release here, and the full study here.

Pay Survey Reveals Real CEO Compensation at Big Firms Rose 36% in 2010

New York, NY; December 15th 2011 – GMI released today its annual CEO Pay Survey 2011, identifying changes in total annual and total realized compensation paid to CEOs for fiscal year 2010. Formerly known as The Corporate Library CEO Pay Survey, and now in its ninth year, the survey is one of the largest on CEO compensation in North America.

Key findings from this year’s survey include:

  • Total realized compensation for CEOs in the S&P 500 rose by a median 36.5%.
  • Total realized compensation for all CEOs in the survey rose 27% compared to a 13% increase in total annual compensation.
  • Three of the 10 highest paid CEOs of 2010 are from the Health Care Providers & Services industry,including the top two.
  • Four of the 10 highest paid CEOs of 2010 were retired or terminated executives receiving exit packages.
  • Perks in the S&P 500 rose 11% from 2009 to 2010.
  • Three of the five highest paid CEOs of 2010 received single year pension and deferred compensation increases of $14 million.
  • More than 70 percent of CEOs received a restricted stock award in 2010 while only 53 percent received stock options.

Realized compensation includes total annual compensation, change in pension and non‐qualified deferred compensation, value realized in exercising options and vesting of other equity and any payments from a vested retirement plan.

“The 36.5 percent increase in realized compensation is particularly notable when it’s put in context of the modest growth of the economy in 2010 and general public company performance last year,” said Paul Hodgson, Chief Communications Officer and Senior Research Associate at GMI.

And if you’re wondering who won the prize for fattest paycheck last year, wonder no more. That distinction goes to John H. Hammergen, CEO of healthcare company McKesson Corporation. Total one-year take? $145,266,971.

Stacy Johnson

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