2009's Biggest CEO Pay Packages

An annual list of the biggest corporate pay packages in 2009 is out, and not all of the fattest CEO paychecks represent equivalent 2009 success stories.
Author:
Publish date:

Oracle's (ORCL) - Get Report Larry Ellison pictured below may be the highest-paid CEO in corporate America, but there's a lot more than that to explore in the latest batch of CEO compensation data.

Ellison's 2009 pay package of CEO compensation data of $84.5 million was virtually unchanged from his 2008 pay, and was still far and away the largest pay package among CEOs of firms with at least $6.3 billion in revenues, according to executive compensation consulting firm Equilar.

Ellison's 2009 compensation was $50 million more than the second-place CEO, Boston Scientific's Ray Elliott.

The timing of the Equilar CEO compensation data tables, first reported by the

New York Times

on Sunday, could have been better for Boston Scientific's Elliott. The medical device company is still

fighting through the recall of its defibrillator product line and potential losses that are being estimated as high as $500 million by Street analysts.

Elliott may soon have to pledge away his compensation package if Boston Scientific doesn't quickly recover from the defibrillator disaster.

While Boston Scientific CEO Elliott tries to bring the medical device company back from a share price trough,

Occidental Petroleum

(OXY) - Get Report

CEO Ray Irani

pictured below

had no such problem in 2009.

Irani led CEOs in the Top Ten with an increase of 39% in his 2009 compensation. Occidental Petroleum's share value increased by 38% in 2009 and the value of Irani's annual stock awards increased from $15.7 million in 2008 to $24.7 million in 2009.

Of course, there are many CEOs who refuse stock-loaded pay packages every year, too -- such as market success stories like

Apple's

(AAPL) - Get Report

Steve Jobs and

Berkshire Hathaway's

(BRK.B) - Get Report

Warren Buffett, both again at the bottom of the compensation list in 2009.

And while Boston Scientific CEO Elliott may be facing calls for a return of his pay from angered Boston Scientific investors, former

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

CEO Ken Lewis and

Citigroup's

(C) - Get Report

Vikram Pandit were at the bottom of the compensation list as they swore off big pay in 2009 as part of placating the populist rage against their bailed-out banks.

Citigroup's Pandit went from more than $37 million in stock and options awards in 2008 to his much-talked-about salary of $1 in 2009.

There was also a whole lot of food among the lowest paid corporate CEOs. The top executives of

Tyson Foods

(TSN) - Get Report

,

Whole Foods Market

(WFMI)

and

Publix Super Markets

(PUSH)

were all within the top 10 lowest paid CEOs in 2009.

A quick review of the Equilar CEO compensation days shows that (no surprise) lots of middle-aged to older white men at the top of the corporate pay totem pole.

There is often talk about a glass ceiling for female executives. Where does the highest-paid female CEO rank in the Equilar data?

Twenty-seventh on the list of the highest-paid executives was as high as a female executive could reach in 2009. Tobacco giant

Reynolds American's

(RAI)

CEO Susan Ivey

pictured above

earned $16.2 million, an 84% increase from 2008.

Patricia Woertz, CEO of

Archer Daniels Midland

(ADM) - Get Report

, was in 34th place with a 2009 pay package of $14.7 million, a slight decrease from 2008. In 40th place was

PepsiCo's

(PEP) - Get Report

Indra Nooyi, with 2009 pay of $14.2 million, also slightly down from the previous year.

There were a total of 7 female CEOs among the 200 CEOs covered in the Equilar data.

The only African-American among the top 50 pay packages was

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

CEO Kenneth Chenault, in 24th place with 2009 pay of $16.6 million, down 40% from his 2008 pay package.

The next highest-paid African-American CEO after Chenault was

Darden Restaurants'

(DRI) - Get Report

Clarence Otis, in 120th place, with 2009 compensation of $6.7 million.

Even if female CEOs were not dominating the list, Reynolds American CEO Susan Ivey's 84% increase pay was good enough for 5th place among CEOs who saw their pay go up in 2009. And while most female CEOs spent another year looking up at a male-heavy list, Bank of America's former CEO Ken Lewis and Citigroup's Pandit could only look up at the pay package of

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

CEO John Stumpf

pictured below

.

Stumpf's 2009 pay of $18.8 million was an increase of 107% over 2008, the second-best spike on the Equilar list.

The only CEO to see his pay increase on a percentage basis more than the Wells Fargo CEO in 2009 was

First American

(FAF) - Get Report

CEO Parker Kennedy. Kennedy's bonus of more than $1.3 million was more than his total compensation package in 2008.

Reynolds American shareholders couldn't complain about the 40% increase in shareholder value in 2009, nor could Wells Fargo shareholders -- like Warren Buffett -- complain about the 237% rise in Wells Fargo profits in 2009, even as share value slipped 7%.

The Wells Fargo profit jump of 237% was by far the largest for companies of CEOs saw their pay increase by at least 30% in 2009.

The only other CEO who watched his company's share value increase by more than 200% in 2009 was

Winn-Dixie Stores

(WINN)

CEO Peter Lynch, whose pay package of $4.6 million represented a 58% increase over 2008. The Winn-Dixie CEO went from $0 in stocks and options in 2008 to more than $1.7 million in stocks and options grants in 2009.

Only two CEOs saw their companies shareholder value increase by more than 300% in 2009:

Tenet Healthcare's

(THC) - Get Report

Trevor Fetter and

Ford Motor Company's

(F) - Get Report

Alan Mulally.

Mulally's pay was up by 6% in 2009, with his stock awards increasing in value from $4.5 million to $10.9 million. Tenet Healthcare's Fetter had a pay package 4% below his 2008 pay. Fetter's bonus was twice as large as his 2008 bonus, but more than $2 million in 2008 stock awards were nowhere to be found in 2009 as the stock roared back from a floor.

For some CEOs, increases in 2009 profits and shareholder value in 2009 were still not good enough to generate an increase in their own annual pay.

Abbott Laboratories

(ABT) - Get Report

Miles White

pictured above

, No. 8 overall on the list of best-paid CEOs, watched his pay package decline by 13% in 2009, to $21.9 million. Meanwhile, Abbott profits increased by 21% and shareholder value by 4%.

While the Abbott CEO's stock awards increased from $7.5 million to $12.5 million, White's option awards decreased from close to $11 million in 2008 to $3 million in 2009.

Some CEO pay packages suffered alongside poor stock performance, as opposed to defying it.

Among the top 10 most highly paid CEOs in America,

Procter & Gamble's

(PG) - Get Report

former CEO Alan Lafley and

Walt Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

CEO Robert Iger

pictured above

both received less pay in 2009, as profits and shareholder value decreased at both companies.

In fact, Disney and Procter & Gamble were the only two companies among the ten companies with the highest-paid CEOs to decline in both profit and share value last year.

Disney's Iger saw his pay decrease by 58% in 2009, as profits slipped 25% and share value by 9%. Iger's stock and option awards declined from more than $34 million in 2008 to less than $10 million in 2009. Iger's bonus also decreased from just short of $14 million in 2008, to under $9.3 million in 2009.

At Procter & Gamble, Lafley's bonus was down by more than $1 million in 2009 and his total pay package down by 8%, as P&G profits slipped 6% and share value by 13%.

-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.

RELATED STORIES:

>>Is Buffett, Not Carlos Slim, the World's Richest Man

>>Boston Scientific In Cash Crunch: Reports

Follow TheStreet.com on

Twitter

and become a fan on

Facebook.

Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.