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Bonus Watch ’12: It’s Good To Be The Chief. Or The Deputy Chief.

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Fears that executives at the biggest companies wouldn’t get raises befitting their dignity have proven unfounded.

Well, what a difference a few months and a larger pool of C.E.O.’s make. According to an updated analysis, the top 200 chief executives at public companies with at least $1 billion in revenue actually got a big raise last year, over all. The research, conducted for Sunday Business by Equilar Inc., the executive compensation analysis firm, found that the median 2012 pay package came in at $15.1 million — a leap of 16 percent from 2011….

Because the data shows only chief executives’ pay, it does not reveal how good it still is to be a prince. Brian Foley, an independent compensation consultant in White Plains, pointed out that the 2012 compensation of the No. 2 executives at some of these companies would have vaulted them to the top ranks on the C.E.O. roster.

“The interesting thing is that there are people at these companies that make as much or more than other C.E.O.’s,” Mr. Foley said. “I’m sure it’s a case of ‘Look at what the C.E.O. has; I want more of that.’ “

Lawrence J. Ellison, founder and C.E.O. of Oracle, the software company, is a familiar face on the pay charts, and is ranked No. 1 this year. And had his two top lieutenants been included, they, too, would have landed among the top five on the list. Safra A. Catz, Oracle’s chief financial officer and co-president, and Mark V. Hurd, also a co-president, each received packages worth $52 million in 2012. (Mr. Hurd, you might remember, received severance of more than $12.2 million when he left Hewlett-Packard in 2010….)

Mr. Ellison was hardly alone in receiving boatloads of stock in 2012. Among the five top C.E.O.’s receiving compensation packages that were at least double those of last year, stock and option awards — which can vest over several years — provided the major kick.

Those executives included Robert A. Kotick of Activision Blizzard, the software publishing company; James Q. Crowe of Level 3 Communications, the communications network company; and Mark G. Parker of Nike. Mr. Kotick received stock awards worth almost $56 million, or 86 percent of his total. Of Mr. Crowe’s $40.7 million in pay, stock and option grants amounted to $37 million, or 91 percent of the total. At Nike, Mr. Parker’s stock and option awards were 77 percent of his $35.2 million in compensation.

An Unstoppable Climb in C.E.O. Pay [NYT]


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