Boom Times Continue for CEOs

Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Larry Ellison

Executives helming the nation’s largest corporations continue to receive lucrative compensation and retirement packages, despite the clamoring from investors and those outside Wall Street to reign in CEO incomes.


The top 200 CEOs at public companies in 2012 enjoyed a median pay package of $15.1 million, which represented a 16% increase over 2011, according to research conducted for The New York Times by Equilar Inc., an executive compensation analysis firm.


Leading the way was Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle, the software company, who received $96.2 million in total pay. Of this amount, $90.7 million came in the form of stock options. Ellison’s income went up 24% compared to the previous year. Among his other acquisitions, in 2012 Ellison bought 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai.


Meanwhile, Oracle shareholders’ returns were negative 22%.


Compensation was also booming for the No. 2 executives at these companies. Ellison’s two top lieutenants, Safra A. Catz, Oracle’s chief financial officer and co-president, and Mark V. Hurd, also a co-president, each received packages worth $52 million in 2012—making them as well paid, or better, than many of the CEOs on the list.


Corporate titans who retired last year also did very well for themselves. James J. Mulva, who left ConocoPhillips after 10 years as CEO, received the largest golden parachute: $156 million.


Others will benefit from retirement packages that continue to pay out over multiple years. Edward D. Breen, formerly CEO of the conglomerate Tyco International, got a $46 million package in 2012, and will take in another $55.8 million this year and $30 million more in 2016.


At least shareholders shared in some of the year’s corporate profits. Overall, the return for shareholders at the public corporations reviewed was 19%--three percentage points higher than the pay raise enjoyed by CEOs.


-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

An Unstoppable Climb in C.E.O. Pay (by Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times)

Golden Parachutes Are Still Very Much in Style (by Pradnya Joshi, New York Times)

Multi-Millionaire Goldman Sachs CEO Blankfein Says Americans Should Work Longer and Receive Fewer Benefits (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

CEOs of Major Defense Contractors Earn More in a Day than Average U.S. Worker in a Year (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

The Economy is Booming again…for CEOs (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

25 Major Companies Paid More to CEOs than They Did in Taxes (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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