The Top Ten Highest Paid CEOs

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The Top Ten Highest Paid CEOs
Chief Executive Officers are often criticised for the extravagant salaries. (Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the operating head of a company, firm or organisation. These high-ranking corporate leaders are the people who are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of their organisations. This is great responsibility which is often rewarded with a large compensation package. Executive compensation during the recession of 2007 to 2009 was a point of contention, with many, including the AFL-CIO, contending that these business leaders are paid too much during a time of economic malaise. The top ten highest paid CEOs of 2009 is an eclectic group of business leaders from a variety of industries that have succeeded in making massive sums of money.

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One and Two

The highest paid CEO in 2009 (the most recent completed year) was Larry Ellison, CEO at software behemoth Oracle. Mr. Ellison had a total compensation package in 2009 of £54.9 million, well ahead of any other CEO on the list. The majority of his pay came from stock and options rather than cash ($78.4 million in stock and options versus £4.0 million in cash).

Ray Elliot, CEO of medical supplies company Boston Scientific, was the second highest paid CEO in 2009. Mr. Elliot had a total compensation package of £21.7 million, most of which was paid in stock and options rather than cash ($29.4 million in stock and options versus £2.6 million in cash).

Three and Four

The third highest paid CEO in 2009 was Ray Irani, CEO at petroleum giant Occidental Petroleum. Mr. Irani had a total compensation package in 2009 of £20.4 million. The majority of his pay came from stock and options rather than cash ($24.8 million in stock and options versus £4.3 million in cash).

Mark Hurd, CEO of computer manufacturer Hewlett Packard, was the fourth highest paid CEO in 2009. Mr. Hurd had a total compensation package of £21.7 million, most of which was paid in cash rather than stock and options ($17.6 million in cash versus £4.3 million in stock and options). (See References 2)

Five and Six

The fifth highest paid CEO in 2009 was James Hackett, CEO at petroleum firm Anadarko Petroleum. Mr. Hackett had a total compensation package in 2009 of £15.3 million. The majority of his pay came from stock and options rather than cash ($17.4 million in stock and options versus £4.0 million in cash).

A.G. Lafley, CEO of home products manufacturer Procter & Gamble, was the sixth highest paid CEO in 2009. Mr. Lafley had a total compensation package of £15.3 million, most of which was paid in stock and options rather than cash ($17.9 million in cash versus £3.6 million in stock and options). (See References 2)

Seven and Eight

The seventh highest paid CEO in 2009 was William Weldon, CEO at personal care products company Johnson & Johnson. Mr. Weldon had a total compensation package in 2009 of £14.8 million. The majority of his pay came from cash rather than stock and options ($14.8 million in cash versus £5.2 million in stock and options). Mr. Weldon was the highest cash-compensated CEO in the top ten highest paid CEOs of 2009.

Miles White, CEO of medical researcher Abbot Laboratories, was the eighth highest paid CEO in 2009. Mr. White had a total compensation package of £14.2 million, most of which was paid in stock and options rather than cash ($15.4 million in stock and options versus £4.2 million in cash).

Nine and Ten

The ninth highest paid CEO in 2009 was Bob Iger, CEO at entertainment company Walt Disney. Mr. Iger had a total compensation package in 2009 of £14.0 million. The majority of his pay came from cash rather than stock and options ($12.0 million in cash versus £6.2 million in stock and options).

Samuel Palmisano, CEO of computer products firm IBM, was the tenth highest paid CEO in 2009. Mr. Palmisano had a total compensation package of £13.8 million, most of which was paid in stock and options rather than cash ($13.5 million in stock and options versus £4.9 million in cash).

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