NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Energy shareholders took a beating last year, but many of the sector's CEOs did not.
Oil prices plunged in 2014. U.S. crude oil was trading at over $100 a barrel in June and July of last year, but by the end of December, it was priced at about half that. Firms were forced to cut spending and reel in dividends as some analysts suggested prices could fall as low as $30.
In turn, a number of energy stocks plummeted. The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE), which tracks the energy companies listed on the S&P 500, dropped about 10% in 2014 alone.
Shareholders paid the price on falling energy stocks; however, the executives at the helm of many hard-hit companies did not. In fact, quite the opposite.
A Wall Street Journal study released Wednesday compares CEO pay against stock performance. And even though researchers found that executive compensation is increasingly geared toward results, some CEOs are still getting big paydays even when their investors are flailing.
Energy companies appear to be big offenders on that front. Here are nine energy CEOs who got pay increases last year, even though their shareholders lost money.
Exxon Mobil (XOM) shareholders lost 6.1% last year, but CEO Rex Tillerson saw his pay jump 17.6%. In 2014, he brought in $33.1 million, compared to $28.1 million the year before. The bump-up was largely the result of $4.7 million increase in pension value.
Tillerson, who has been chairman and CEO of the oil and gas giant since 2006, also saw his base pay increase slightly in from $2.7 million in 2013 to nearly $2.9 million in 2014. And in 2015, his base salary will go up again to more than $3 million.
Exxon has maneuvered to adjust to the current oil price landscape. It has reduced stock buyback spending and cut capital and exploration expenditures by 9% during the first quarter of this year.