Report: Two CEOs paid over $1 billion in past decade

It pays to be at the top of the corporate food chain. It really pays.

Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Larry Ellison, founder and chief executive of software maker Oracle, topped the list of best-paid executives of public companies during the past decade. Ellison received $1.84 billion in compensation, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of CEO pay.

Barry Diller came in second on the compensation list, the WSJ reports. Diller received $1.14 billion from IAC/InterActive and Expedia.com, the online travel site IAC spun off in 2005, where he remains chairman.

Rounding out the top five were Occidental Petroleum CEO Ray Irani at $857 million, Apple’s Steve Jobs with $749 million and Capital One Financial’s Richard Fairbank at $569 million, the WSJ said.

No Georgia CEO made the list of the top 25. No woman is on the list.

Four of the top 25 CEOs worked at financial companies, the WSJ reports. The newspaper’s analysis includes salaries, bonuses, perks and realized gains on both restricted stock and stock options.

Shareholders at some companies benefited along with the CEOs, the WSJ reports. For example, Oracle shareholders saw the value of their stock triple, while shareholders of Apple saw their stock soar nearly 12 times over.

But four of the 10 highest-earning executives ran companies whose shareholders lost money over the decade: IAC/InterActive, Countrywide, Capital One and Cendant, the WSJ says.

Is any CEO worth this type of money?

For the CEOs who built their companies from scratch, is this a just reward? Much too excessive?

What does this say about CEO “pay-for-performance” formulas?

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55 comments Add your comment

MTA

July 27th, 2010
8:34 am

At the first of the year the CEO for Japanese Airlines (JAL) took a cut in pay to $1 for the year because JAL was experiencing hard times. He stated he felt it was his responsibility to take a hit just as his employees were doing. The man showed class, something American CEO’s lack! These over paid sissy golf players are NOTHING more than thugs with an education! They do nothing & take their barley legal teenage receptionist on junkets to resorts for meetings!

Jerry Mandering

July 27th, 2010
9:28 am

“Airport suit costs city millions”
“Atlanta plans to appeal it loss, but the suit over airport advertising could cost it — and the taxpayers — millions of dollars.”

I was struck by this AJC headline and considered if maybe the misdeeds of corrupt elected officials are really what cost the city millions. Billy Corey won the fight that couldn’t be won. Now, he will be painted with the broad brush wielded by the folks on Marietta Street . . . or is it Dunwoody, now?

Aren’t you sick of corrruption and deceit no matter the color?

Matt

July 27th, 2010
3:09 pm

MTA, the JAL ceo was just copying Steve Jobs (an american CEO) who took $1 salary for the first several years back at Apple (starting in 1998), when they were “beleaguered”, and has since turned Apple around. Americans need to stop acting on impulse and “it just seems right/wrong’” and start basing opinions on facts.

Christina

July 27th, 2010
3:21 pm

Well stated, Matt. These CEOs are brilliant, educated, strategic individuals. None of them got there by accident, luck, or birth. As someone who has been married to a high-paid executive for 10 years, I cannot begin to elaborate on the long hours and personal sacrifice these men have endured. Average people can’t take the pressure on top.

wwr201

July 27th, 2010
3:22 pm

MTA: I am not saying that there are not some CEOs amount to philandering thugs with an education; however, Ellison founded a company and grew it to $120 billion and employs over 100,000 people; commerce, government and personal computing would not be possible as it currently is without Oracle. In addition, he has made countless charitable contributions. So, you don’t think he’s earned less than a 1% of the value of the company he built? Yeah, he probably just got lucky.

mechelle

July 27th, 2010
3:30 pm

Christina, and the fact that YOU live such a comfortable lifestyle is the reason why you feel this way I am sure.

Chris

July 27th, 2010
3:33 pm

“1) Is any CEO worth this type of money? 2) For the CEOs who built their companies from scratch, is this a just reward? Much too excessive? 3) What does this say about CEO “pay-for-performance” formulas?”

1) No!
2) No!
3) That they’re crap.

I don’t begrudge investors for getting rich off of their investments.

On the other hand, it’s criminal to compensate CEOs as if their companies succeeded entirely because of him, while most employees are compensated a tiny fraction of the income of those in top management (and actually see their purchasing power reduced over the same period of time).

Of course, when top management sits on each others Boards of Directors, you don’t have compensation decided by free markets, you have compensation decided by an old boys club at the expense of owners (i.e., investors) and employees. It’s legalized theft.

J

July 27th, 2010
3:35 pm

Seriously, why does anyone need to make that amount of money a year? I am all for people being successful and so on. But at some point enough has to be enough. Just like atheletes making millions and owners driving up the cost of their tickets to pay the salaries. Pretty soon no one will be able to attend their events or shop at their businesses.

carlton

July 27th, 2010
3:36 pm

Way to go AJC. Keep flogging that “class-envy” donkey as long as possible.

5thGenATL

July 27th, 2010
3:37 pm

“So, you don’t think he’s earned less than a 1% of the value of the company he built? Yeah, he probably just got lucky.”

I would love to see someone argue with that. Nothing is stopping ANYONE in America from starting the next Oracle, Microsoft, etc, except brains and work ethic.

But this has become a country where Iphones, flat screen TV’s and Jordan shoes are considered rights, not luxuries/rewards for hard work and sacrifice.

Im generous to charity, but the ones I choose.

In conclusion, hell yes they deserve it. If you dont agree with it, dont buy stock in their company and if you want to earn more go out and start a company.

Christina

July 27th, 2010
3:37 pm

Yes, if you consider rarely sleeping in the same bed with your husband because he is on business trips 5 days a week and dad being on his laptop throughout every family vacation and teaching your children not to speak in the car so he can be on constant business calls “comfortable” then I guess I am.

Why??

July 27th, 2010
3:37 pm

They worked hard and got very nicely rewarded, I am happy for them. I may never make a billion, or even a million a year, but I work hard and am doing pretty well. To the jealous people here, put down the damn TV remote and make something of yourself!!!! You may surprise yourself. If you are just going to whine and do nothing about it, go back the sports blogs where lazy whiners are welcome!!

shaggy

July 27th, 2010
3:37 pm

That MTA creep is just a whining envious twit. He, like many others, think they are “entitled” to live lavishly, just because they breathe air. It’s just jealousy, because MTA made poor choices and wouldn’t sacrifice the elbow grease to succeed. In other times, that was know as LAZY! Hey MTA, try working and pursuing something, instead of watching TV after you come home from a hard day of passing customers french fry orders to them through a little bitty window.

shaggy

July 27th, 2010
3:45 pm

Chris & J – Read what I posted for MTA. It works for your sad sacks too. If you want to be a CEO, make the choices, do the work, or shut up and go back to sitting on your couch whining about what others get as compensation for everything you shun, like hard work.

John

July 27th, 2010
4:01 pm

This is not rocket science. If you don’t want these CEO’s to stop making so much money, don’t buy the products of their respective companies… Simple economics. Same concept goes for the athletes that get paid a lot of money.
Since the general public highly demands products like iphones and lebron james, those people profit.

nowayouttahere

July 27th, 2010
4:02 pm

1. If you founded the company what you make it what you take I have no problems with that – after ALL the board can one day try to kick you out of the empire you built from the ground up.
2. If you have to lay-off fire a large percentage of your work force to get to the “profit number” foul… you should not make as much.
3. If you a fired from company cause you ran it into the ashes, you should get a go home check but it should NOT be the gross amounts these people get. HD 250mil/ GS275Mil “just to leave”
4. The workers in the company/producers should be enriched ever time the CEO is period. If he/she makes money then all should. If the company fails to turn a profit… better luck next year.
5. If any of you would not take a job making 9.5 mill a year for 5-6 years and then cannot work for a few years for $1 a year, then you have an addiction you need to take care of…that is always a joke to me. Make 55,000-75, 0000 then say you will take the one dollar and I will be impressed.

Chris

July 27th, 2010
4:03 pm

shaggy,

If you want to allow cabal of greedy white guys steal from your paycheck and savings, then have at it. In the meantime, you know what you can do with your sorry advice.

Earning It

July 27th, 2010
4:07 pm

Hey Chris – As someone who sees half (48%) a paycheck disappear every week, I think the only person who is stealing my money is Obama. Last time I checked, I willingly gave my money to Dell, Oracle, and Starbucks for their fine products.

wesley

July 27th, 2010
4:10 pm

Shaggy, sounds like you got some anger management issues, probably a trust fund baby is my guess…..

Ted

July 27th, 2010
4:13 pm

You’re damn right these CEOs deserve what they made. Look at Apple under Steve Jobs. It has become a giant. Is he solely responsible? No. But I can guarantee you that Apple wouldn’t have survived, let alone thrived had anyone else taken the reigns in 1997.

These individuals are responsible for companies that employ thousands (maybe even hundreds of thousands) of employees. They are the engine of the world’s economy. Anyone who says they don’t deserve what they make is nothing more than a petty, jealous dolt who can’t get over looking in to other people’s pockets for something to get angry about.

William C.Smith

July 27th, 2010
4:16 pm

Concerning compensation for CEOs I find it humorous that many say they deserve it because of the
long hours. Our military men, firemen, and policemen in many respects work under much more stressful circumstances for a minute amount of the money they make. Also, I dare say Tony Heyward deserves the large buy out he gets. Also, the bonuses given by these CEOs to the hard workers on Wall Street is for the ability to destroy our 401 K’s with a Harvard education. They are
the only people in our society that can lay off or outsource millions of jobs an be considered brilliant. The only group with as much arrogance and self serving interest reside inside the Beltway.

Chris

July 27th, 2010
4:17 pm

Earning It,

Since the top income tax rate is 35 percent, only on income above $373,650, it’s safe to say that you have no idea what percentage of your income you pay in taxes. Find out which tax bracket you’re in (I doubt that you know), divide by two, and that might be fair estimate (otherwise look on your 1040 and divide total taxes paid by total income).

Also, not only has Obama not raised your taxes (and won’t unless you earn more than $250,000/year), but he cut your taxes last year.

I know that facts are unlikely to persuade you, but I thought it might be worth a try.

I know it

July 27th, 2010
4:18 pm

MTA- there are people in the world that can’t understand why anyone would need to make more than your $20k to live on too, so quit your whining. It’s the high pay that motivates people to strive to build/create/accomplish the things they have. It’s called CAPITALISM and with it comes advances in every area of life for everyone. Without it we would still be living in the Dark Ages because there would be no motivation to do any of the above mentioned.

Dirk Diggler

July 27th, 2010
4:21 pm

@ MTA, how can you complain about what these guys make, these were the nerds that a lot of us picked on in school, and now most of us work our 9 to 5’s and complain while they enjoy the good life, I guess we all know who got the last laugh. case in point, be carreful who you make fun of and pick on, they might be your boss one day.

It's none of your buisiness

July 27th, 2010
4:26 pm

Unless they are stealing the money from us it’s not really any of our business how much money they make. We can talk about sharing the profits with the employees all we want but how many employees would be willing to give up pay if the company made less money? The vast majority of those making over 250k are small business owners, they are the ones that create most of the jobs in this country.

Chris, yes the top income rate is 35%, you forgot about social security, state taxes and other taxes that hit those that make more. As far as Obama not raising the taxes on others you need to read more. He may not hit you with a direct income tax but there are a ton of other taxes coming our way that will hit everyone. If you don’t like people making more than you try finding a job from a poor person.

I know it

July 27th, 2010
4:27 pm

There’s a reason top athletes and CEO’s make the money they do. They can generate much more for someone else, so they’re paid for their skill sets. I can’t put 30,000 people in the stands at Turner Field at $20 a seat to watch me play baseball so no one within the Braves’ organization is willing to pay me several million bucks. I don’t blame them. If someone’s paid alot it’s because someone else figures they can make alot off of them. Come on folks wake up. If I was convinced that a person could make my business $10 million if I would pay them $1 million, I would jump on it. So would anyone else.

bubla

July 27th, 2010
4:30 pm

Is George Clooney worth 20 Million a movie? Is P-Diddy worth 10 Million an album? Is Albert Pulhols worth 20 Million a season? Is Al Gore worth the 100 Million he has received since ending his tenure as VP?

Funny how the media always attacks the big business guys but the entertainers, and politicians, are always given a free pass.

I know it

July 27th, 2010
4:33 pm

Someone is worth what someone else is willing to pay them. If the one paying the salary makes a bad decision then that’s their fault and they pay the price.

Chris

July 27th, 2010
4:34 pm

INYB,

I didn’t forget about SS, state taxes,… He said 48 percent is coming out of his paycheck, and you can add those federal income, payroll and state taxes and there’s no way that his his taxes even approach 48 percent. Go home, look at your tax return, and do the math. You pay less than you think—much less.

I’d be curious to know what the ton of taxes coming our way consist of. I’m looking forward to the learning the details.

By the way, anybody who claims that I don’t like people making more money than me didn’t read what I said very closely.

maybeNot

July 27th, 2010
4:39 pm

I wonder if the owners of these companies, the shareholders, would have granted these payouts IF they had a vote. That might be a nice addition to the next financial reform bill in another 20 years or so.

Chris

July 27th, 2010
4:48 pm

maybeNot,

Funny you should mention that.

“The Act requires public companies to provide their shareholders periodically with a non-binding vote (“say-on-pay”) on the compensation of their executives, as well as on “golden parachute” severance arrangements in connection with mergers and other similar transactions.”

http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=a2a4528e-bd1e-42b1-87d1-779eb7b8ce65

It’s non-binding, but it is intended to put pressure on the Board and improve transparency. It’s a start, anyway.

Ted

July 27th, 2010
4:50 pm

Chris – please stop spouting the Obama taking points of Obama not raising your taxes unless you make more then $250K/year. First of all, for the poor saps who enjoy smoking and tanning, they’ve been hit with huge tax increases. OK, those are outliers, but they still count.

Second, when Obama and his minions in congress let the Bush tax cuts expire, EVERYBODY is going to see an increase. The child deductions will go from $800 per child to $500. TAX INCREASE. The 10% rate will increase to 15%, 15% will increase to 28%, 31% will inrease to 36%, and 35% will increase to 39%. TAX INCREASE. If you don’t think those will affect people making less than $250K/year, you are an idiot.

Third, and perhaps the most important – is that Obama’s anti business environment has created uncertainty in the market, and when businesses see uncertainty, they sit on their hands and tend not to invest in goods/services or people.

So go ahead and spout the DNC talking points. The rest of us have wised up and will be fixing your mistake in Nov 2010 and 2012.

JayLex

July 27th, 2010
4:55 pm

William C.Smith…..VERY WELL STATED ! All ignorant posters kick rocks, with open toed sandals.

The Dogfighter Returns

July 27th, 2010
4:57 pm

they are stealing money from you, if you are a shareholder. with the exception of jobs the rest are totally useless figureheads.

what has oracle ever done except gobble up rivals to grow? what is so difficult about buying your competitor? their erp systems are garbage.

these guys are so good right well what happened to that d-bag from GE who became the CEO of home depot and later one of the auto companies? (this guy was supposed to be the next jack welch, lmfao)

These guys are glorified admins. there are others doing the nuts and bolts work that brings in the money.

The most difficult thing is to find a CEO without an ego who will not screw up.

It ain’t rocket science. if you sell expensive crap that no one needs, no one will buy it.

Ted

July 27th, 2010
4:58 pm

Oh, and I forgot about the numerous other tax increases we’ll all see when the Obama Tax Increase goes in to effect in 2011. This page does a good job of running them down.

http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/taxes/how-the-expiring-bush-tax-cuts-affect-you/

Disgusted with everyone but the CEO's

July 27th, 2010
4:59 pm

I find it very interesting that the media and anyone who is anti-business or anti-capitalism despises these CEO’s. They do not force their companies to pay them. The CEO’s enter into agreement with the company’s Board of Directors, the share holders or found the company themselves, ie. Larry Ellison. Why do we fault these people? Are we jealous of there income. I worked over 5000 hours last year made less than $70,000, but I do not hold a grudge against them. Maybe those of you that hate these individuals should look at yourself for blame and not someone else.

Chris

July 27th, 2010
5:03 pm

Ted,

First, What poor saps have been hit with huge tax increases? What tax increases? You have no idea, do you?

Second, the increases you detailed would, in fact, effect people making less than $250,000/year. The problem with your argument is that the lower rates and child deductions aren’t going up. Those cuts will not be allowed to expire.

Third, and most important, business isn’t expanding because of one reason and one reason only—they need more customers.

So go ahead and spout your right wing talking points, but when you vote to re-elect the same corrupt crowd that took our economy into the sewer in the first place, you will have been voting out of ignorance.

The Dogfighter Returns

July 27th, 2010
5:07 pm

Ted

July 27th, 2010
4:58 pm
Oh, and I forgot about the numerous other tax increases we’ll all see when the Obama Tax Increase goes in to effect in 2011. This page does a good job of running them down.

http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/taxes/how-the-expiring-bush-tax-cuts-affect-you/

——
Let’s talk about this in 2011.

Who Cares

July 27th, 2010
5:08 pm

Why is it that the liberal MSM and others get so upset over how much another person makes? I bet if any of these class envy card players were making this kind of money, they wouldn’t be complaining, save for how much of it is being looted by taxes. The point is if folks would focus on what they’re making and strive to make more, they wouldn’t care how much multimillionaire CEOs or professional athletes earn. Granted, I personally don’t believe any human being is worth this kind of money – Exhibit A: Wall Street bank failures. But, who am I to dictate how much another person earns? If an individual takes the risk of starting his own company and builds it so that it becomes a powerhouse in its industry, then that person is entitled to the riches it generates. After all, that person (or partners) took the risk. The whiners didn’t. Exhibit B: Bill Gates and Microsoft. The beauty about American capitalism is if you don’t like something about a company, its CEO or how much (or little) it pays its employees, you don’t have to buy its stock or its products. I believe Wal Mart is one of the greatest business success stories ever told. But I also believe they treat their employees like crap and they extort price concessions from their suppliers and vendors. Do I care how much net profit they make each year? No. I don’t contribute to it because I choose to spend my income elsewhere. It’s a very simple concept. If I decided I don’t agree with Bill Gates’ politics, well there’s Dell, HP and Apple. Don’t like BP because of the oil spill and the millions it’s giving to its ousted CEO, well there’s Exxon and others. Nike products cost a great deal because of celebrity athlete endorsements. Well, Adidas, New Balance, Puma may earn my money. It’s all about choice and thank God we have it in America. Capitalism isn’t perfect, but it sure beats the hell out of socialism and communism.

rofl

July 27th, 2010
5:18 pm

There have been 2 athletes in history that made a billion dollars (Tiger Woods and Michael Schumacher) but it seams more common with CEOs.
I don’t have a problem with people making large amounts of money, what bothers me is their success comes at the cost of their own employees and country man. Every peace of equipment in your i-phone was made in China. Most likely 80% of all the stuff in your house, from TVs, computers to clothing and even your toothbrush are made in countries where labor laws don’t exist and wages are criminal. I think you could live just as comfortable on a $100.000.000 as on a billion but think how many jobs could be created with a billion dollars. That would increase buying power in your own backyard and would not force you to make shady background deals with third world countries.
What about all the banking CEOs did anyone of them give their salary back after almost ruining the country, I don’t think so, in fact many got bonus paid from the bail-out money.

What?

July 27th, 2010
5:25 pm

Ted,

While you believe that Bush’s presidency was the next best thing since color tv, how do you think we will pay off the deficit we are in? If you dont think that a tax increase will help reduce the deficit we find ourselves in, then I shudder to think about the way you plan on “fixing your mistake” in Nov 2010 and 2012.

I am guessing you are republican and till date I havent seen any credible explanation on how Bush’s tax cuts helped turn a surplus (from when he took over from Clinton) to the gargantuan deficit that he handed off (convinently) to Obama.

Or how Bush’s tax cuts created such a favorable economic climate that essentially triggered the worst economic recession!

shaggy

July 27th, 2010
5:37 pm

Chris,

No anger issues here, or a trust fund. Also, no whining and envy for what I did not earn. I can see that thought is foreign to a moron, like you, that thinks they should have all the riches and benefits, without doing the work that it takes to earn it. Go back to your sad little TV and mope about opportunities not realized. I will just keep on working for it, and yes, I deserve to keep it, without being pilfered by “entitled” twits that are too lazy to do it themselves. You know, people like YOU.

Earning It

July 27th, 2010
5:54 pm

Chris! If your income is calculated on earnings from dividends, bonus pay, and commission, you WILL exceed 35%! It’s a hard fact. Flat tax is the only “fair” tax.

Chris

July 27th, 2010
6:33 pm

I can see that thought is foreign to a moron, like you, that thinks they should have all the riches and benefits, without doing the work that it takes to earn it.

Nope. It’s the CEOs who earn 300 times more than their average employee and 280 times more than they deserve who believe they should have all the riches and benefits without earning it—at the expense of the investors and employees who also contributed.

Incidentally, refusing to idolize those who enrich themselves via greed and corruption, as you do, doesn’t equate to “envy for what I did not earn.”

Best of luck dealing with your anger management issues, shaggy.

MTA

July 27th, 2010
7:43 pm

I never said they did not work hard & deserve to make a large salary. But they ALWAYS receive a bonus when the company does well. They should ALSO contribute to the pain when the company falls on hard times – not just the front end employees! Just sick and tired of theses gold-ole-boys receiving their corporate welfare bonuses just because they out-source jobs & lay off people! What we need is to out-source CEO jobs to well educated people from other countries.

Hey Michele – Bet you’ve been a ‘gold-digger’ spoiled by a rich father all of your life!

shaggy

July 28th, 2010
6:45 am

Chris, MTA, and the other whiners,

<<>>

<<>>

Copy/paste example of whining jealousy (Chris) and moronic logic (MTA).
Folks, let’s just be glad that twits like these will never actually succeed at anything meaningful or challenging. They will forever be sitting on a worn out couch, watching TV, that is when they aren’t looking in the mirror of life and wondering why it passed them by. It’s always someone else’s fault, right Chris-MTA???

shaggy

July 28th, 2010
6:48 am

<<>>

<<>>

The copy/paste didn’t copy/paste.

shaggy

July 28th, 2010
6:49 am

Oh well, I give up here. Just read the dullard’s posts.

MTA

July 28th, 2010
9:18 am

Shaggy – Too dumb to copy & Paste??? See you are the losing type who GIVES up!!! Sorry you were raised by sub standard parents……

shaggy

July 28th, 2010
1:38 pm

MTA,

Seriously, is that the best you have? Were your hands shaking and your mouth foaming drool as you typed your clever post?