After two years of compensation declines, U.S. chief executive officers had a median annual pay increase of 18 percent in 2010, according to a national survey released Tuesday.
GovernanceMetrics International Inc. analyzed 747 proxy statements filed between June 30, 2010, and March 24, 2011, to find that total realized compensation, which includes stock awards, jumped a median 28 percent.
For 2010, the CEOs in the S&P 500 had a median compensation of nearly $8.49 million and an average compensation of more than $11.95 million.
Total annual compensation includes base salary, bonuses, non-equity incentive pay, perquisites and benefits.
Total realized compensation includes all that plus changes in pensions and deferred compensation, values realized on exercised stock options, values realized on vesting of other equity, and any payments from a vested retirement plan.
Stock option profits rose an average 37 percent, and vested stock profits rose an average 39 percent, according to the preliminary data.
Even with those increases, the report said, aggregate CEO compensation did not return to its pre-recession level.
Among the CEOs studied, the highest-paid was Robert Iger at The Walt Disney Co., with a total realized compensation of more than $54.9 million.
The top-10 list was rounded out by:
George Paz, Express Scripts Inc., $51.5 million; Lew Frankfort, Coach Inc., $49.45 million; Ray Irani, Occidental Petroleum Corp., $47.1 million; Ralph Lauren, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., $43 million; John C. Martin, Gilead Sciences Inc., $42.7 million; John T. Chambers, Cisco Systems Inc., $37.9 million; Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon Communications Inc., $37 million; Samuel Palmisano, International Business Machines Inc., $36.85 million, and David Pyott, Allergan Inc., $35.3 million.
The study found that cash bonuses rebounded for the top-paid CEOs. These incentive awards totaled more than $90.5 million for the top 10 CEOs in 2010, compared to a total of $29.5 million in 2009, $23.5 million in 2008, and $32.3 million in 2007.
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