Pity the chief executive in the lowly materials sector.

There are 34 companies that constitute the materials sector of the S&P 500. Only two chief executives among them -- DuPont's ( DD) Charles Halliday and Freeport-McMoran's ( FCX) James Moffett -- were among the 100 best-paid CEOs in the index, according to compensation figures provided by Aon Consulting's eComp Online database.

However, as today's "ROE v. Paid: Materials" chart indicates, the group falls a bit short in both the executive pay and corporate performance departments. Only 11 of the 34 companies notched return on equity, or ROE, above 15% on average over five years. (DuPont tops the ROE list.)

As part of TheStreet.com's coverage of executive pay, the "ROE v. Paid" charts compare a company's average return on equity -- or ROE, a handy measure of how effectively a CEO puts shareholder money to use -- over the past five years with the chief executive's compensation. For compensation, we used the most recent figures provided by eComp Database -- the numbers include salary, bonus and options. (For more on our series, please read this column .)

So, have the chieftains of the white-hot gold companies taken home a paycheck worthy of Midas? How do they stack up on ROE compared with their peers?

Low-Cost Materials
Compared with those of other industries, CEOs in the materials sector come cheap: Only DuPont and Freeport-McMoran's chiefs turned up on the Top 100 richest list. This group also isn't known for offering stellar return on equity, either. Only 11 of 34 had five-year average ROE above 15%. Du Pont, Ecolab and IFF come out on top compared with peers. When 2002 compensation figures weren't available, previous-year figures were used, indicated by (2001) in the compensation column.
Company (Ticker Symbol) 5-yr ROE 1-yr ROE Chief Executive Compensation* Rank in 500 Richest CEOs in 2002 Stock Return in 2002
Du Pont (DD) 26.9% -9.66% Charles Holliday $17,726,625 Top 100 -0.3%
Ecolab (ECL) 25.3 21.19 Allan Schuman $10,580,068 #100-200 (2001) 23
International Flavor & Fragrances (IFF) 21.5 32.02 Richard Goldstein $9,702,079 #200-300 18.1

*Compensation figures were not available from eComp, so Yahoo! figures were used.
Source: TheStreet.com, Bloomberg, eComp Online, Yahoo!

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