Top executives from the S&P 500 scored a median 36.5% bump in realized compensation after two years of pay declines in 2008 and 2009, according to the ninth annual report from research group GMI.
The total chief executive earnings, calculated from more than 3,200 proxy statements, include base salary, pension and retirement plan payments, exercised options and more.
Among the list of the top 10 highest-paid executives -– all men -– three came from healthcare companies and four were collecting exit packages from retirement or termination. Of the top five, three landed single-year pension and deferred compensation boosts of $14 million.
More than 70% of all chief executives were given restricted stock awards while 53% ended up with stock options, whose median profits soared to $1.3 million last year from $950,400 in 2009. Among the S&P 500, bosses saw perks jump 11%.
John H. Hammergren, chief executive of healthcare company McKesson Corp., led the list with nearly $145.3 million in compensation, including a base salary of $1.6 million and more than 3.3 million exercised stock options that scored him a profit of $112 million.
Other chief executives in the top 10 included Thomas M. Ryan of CVS Caremark Corp. and Ralph Lauren of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.
-- Tiffany Hsu
Photo: John Hammergren of McKesson is the highest-paid chief executive according to research group GMI. Credit: George Nikitin / Associated Press