Nooyi, Jha among highest paid CEOs in US: WSJ survey

Executives at the biggest US companies saw their pay jump sharply in 2010, as boards rewarded them for strong profit and share-price growth with bigger bonuses and stock grants, the Wall Street Journal said in its latest CEO Compensation survey.

According to the companies' proxy statements studied for the Journal by management consultancy Hay Group, the median value of salaries, bonuses and long-term incentive awards for CEOs of 350 major companies grew 11 per cent in 2010. This increase followed a year in which "pay for the top boss was flat at these companies".

In the 350-strong list, Nooyi is among the five CEOs of Indian-origin at the helm of major US corporations. Giving her company on the highest paid CEO list is OfficeMax CEO Ravi Saligram, Motorola's Jha and Quest Diagnostics' Surya Mohapatra. Citigroup's Vikram Pandit comes in last in the list since he earned no compensation in 2010, following his decision to take a $1 salary per year and no other compensation until Citi returns to "sustained profitability".

Apple boss Steve Jobs also came in at the rear of the list as he too did not take any compensation or salary for 2010.

Nooyi's total direct compensation in 2010 was USD 13.78 million, which included her salary of USD 1.3 million dollars, annual incentives of USD 3 million, stock option grants of USD 3.23 million and performance awards totalling USD 6.25 million. Nooyi's compensation however declined 0.2 per cent from 2009.

Saligram, who heads the office supplies giant, earned a total compensation of USD 12.03 million dollars in 2010 that included a salary of USD 1.21 lakh , stock option grants of USD 9.21 million and restricted stock grants of USD 2.26 million.

Jha's total direct compensation was USD 11.92 million. His 2010 salary was USD 9 lakh dollars and he earned annual incentives of USD 1 million and about USD 10 million in stock option and restricted stock grants.

Mohapatra, whose company is the leading provider of diagnostic testing and services, earned USD 10.39 million  in total compensation that included a salary of USD 1.23 million and annual incentives of USD 1.2 million. His stock option, restricted stock grants and performance awards totalled about USD 8 million. Mohapatra's total compensation declined 3.7 per cent from 2009.

The Wall Street Journal CEO Compensation Study analysed executive pay for those big US public companies by revenue that filed their definitive proxy statements between May 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011.

It took into account salary, bonuses and the granted value of stock, stock options and other long-term incentives given for service in fiscal 2010.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman topped the list. He received compensation valued at USD 84.3 million, more than double his 2009 pay, thanks mainly to equity awards.

Oracle's billioniare founder Larry Ellison came in second. He received compensation valued at USD 68.6 million, consisting mostly of options valued at USD 61.9 million.
CBS CEO Leslie Moonves was the third top earning CEO with compensation totalling USD 53.9 million. The total includes a USD 27.5 million bonus.

News Corp's Rupert Murdoch ranked 52nd on the list with total compensation valued at USD 16.5 million. J P Morgan Chase's James Dimon earned a total compensation of USD 23 million that included USD 1 million salary and USD 12 million in restricted stock grants.
The sharpest pay gains for the CEOs came via bonuses, which soared 19.7 per cent as profits recovered, particularly in some hard-hit industries.

Profits and share prices increased even more than CEO compensation. Net income rose by a median of 17 per cent.

However, several chief executives experienced sizable drops in pay. Occidental Petroleum's Ray Irani saw his 2010 compensation drop 71 per cent to USD 14.9 million.

"The decline mainly grew out of a shareholder backlash that prompted the big oil concern to set a new policy last year, cutting its longtime leader's maximum compensation by nearly three quarters," the Journal said.

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