WASHINGTON – Oracle Corp.'s Larry Ellison was the highest-paid US chief executive last year with total compensation of 192 million dollars, a survey by a corporate research firm showed Tuesday.
The Corporate Library survey of top executive pay also showed a large number of financial firms' CEOs among the best-compensated despite the meltdown in the sector that began in late 2007 and continued into 2008.
Third on the list was Angelo Mozilo of the now-defunct Countrywide Financial, who received 124 million dollars in 2007.
Ellison, founder of the Silicon Valley business software giant, received a base salary of one million dollars, with the bulk of the rest coming from stock options worth an estimated 181 million dollars.
Number two on the list was Barry Diller, CEO of IAC/InterActive, which has since split into five entities. Diller got 184 million dollars, also largely from stock options that overshadowed a base salary of 500,000 dollars.
Meg Whitman, who left eBay in 2008, was fourth on the 2007 list with 120 million dollars, including 116 million in stock options.
The financial sector included some of the other well-paid CEOs.
Aside from Mozilo, whose mortgage lending firm was absorbed by Bank of America, the list included Goldman Sachs's Lloyd Blankfein at number nine (76 million dollars); Capital One Financial's Richard Faribank at number 11 (73 million) and Richard Fuld of the failed Wall Street giant Lehman Brothers at number 13 (71 million).
The Corporate Library report said some highly compensated CEOs have successfully built shareholder value but others have not.
"The presence of the CEOs of six financial services companies in the (top 30) table also comes as something of a surprise given that sector's current woes, particularly the presence of Angelo Mozilo," said the group, which seeks to draw attention to corporate governance.
"Although Mr. Mozilo did not receive an annual bonus of any kind, the profits on stock options of more than 120 million dollars in a year when shareholders saw the destruction of much of the value of the firm presents a dichotomy of experience that the knowledge of great returns to shareholders over the previous nine years cannot wipe out."
Overall, the survey found a median increase of 7.5 percent for publicly traded US and Canadian firms, which the group said was "the first time that CEO pay rises have been in the single digits since The Corporate Library first measured increases between 2001 and 2002."
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