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CEO Pay Hits Record Levels in 2011

CEO Pay Hits Record Levels in 2011 . / Credit: CEO Salary image via Shutterstock

Last year was a good year to be a CEO.  That’s because a new study found that the typical CEO of a public company made $9.6 million, in what represented a 6 percent increase in salary from the previous year.

The nearly $10 million annual salary was also the highest total in the history of the Associated Press (AP) poll that has found the average salaries of CEOs annually since 2006. A majority of this money came in the form of stock awards. The data found that the average stock award for a CEO of a public company came to $3.6 million, up 11 percent from the 2010 total. Average cash bonuses came to $2 million, down 7 percent from 2010, according to the AP. The typical CEO also received $1.7 million in stock options, which allow CEOs to buy shares of stock at the price during the issuance of the options. 

Salary levels for CEOs of public companies reached record levels in 2011. CEO salaries have been the source of much consternation among average Americans. Take our CEO salary quiz and see how much you know about executive compensation.
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Salary levels for CEOs of public companies reached record levels in 2011. CEO salaries have been the source of much consternation among average Americans. Take our CEO salary quiz and see how much you know about executive compensation.
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The highest paid CEOs were significant outliers to the $9.6 million average salary.  David Simon, CEO of Simon Property, the biggest real estate company in the world, received a $137 million salary in 2011.  A majority of that came from $132 million in stock awards, according to the AP report. Other highly paid CEOs included:

  • CBS CEO Leslie Moonves ($68 million)
  • Discovery Communications CEO  David Zaslav  ($52 million)
  • Motorola Mobility's CEO Sanjay Jha ($47.2 million)
  • Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman ($43 million)

CEO salaries were not the only thing that rose last year.  According to the AP report, profits at companies listed in the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 16 percent in 2011. The AP also found that the typical salary for workers was up 1 percent over the past year to just under $40,000. 

The information in the AP report was based on data from executive pay research firm Equilar.  Equilar based its data on 322 companies in the S&P 500. CEOs on the list had to be in place for at least two years to be included. Had Apple CEO Tim Cook been in place for two years, his $378 million salary would have taken the top spot. 

Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer David Mielach at Dmielach@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @D_M89.