CEO Pay Averaged $11.4 Million at Largest Companies in 2010

Top 299 CEOs earned $3.4 billion, enough to pay 102,325 workers at median wage.

April 20, 2011 — -- The chief executive officers of the largest U.S. companies received average pay of $11.4 million in 2010, up 23 percent in one year, according to a searchable list compiled by the the AFL-CIO this week.

At the top of the list is the CEO of the media company Viacom Inc., Philippe Dauman, who received more than $84.5 million, according to the AFL-CIO, the country's largest labor federation.

The top five highest paid CEOs on the list were:

1. Viacom, Philippe Dauman, $84.5 million

2. Occidental Petroleum, Ray Irani, $76.1 million

3. Oracle, Lawrence Ellison, $70.1 million

4. McKesson, John Hammergren, $54.6 million

5. DirecTV, Michael White, $32.9 million

The CEO pay estimate is based on 299 companies in the S&P 500 Index whose executive compensation is available for 2010. The 299 CEOs received a combined total of $3.4 billion in 2010, enough to pay median wages for 102,325 ordinary workers. The median wage for all occupations was $33,190 in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Despite the collapse of the financial market at the hands of executives less than three years ago, the disparity between CEO and workers' pay has continued to grow to levels that are simply stunning," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a prepared statement.

The release the AFL-CIO's "Executive Paywatch" is part of a campaign to strengthen Wall Street reform and close corporate tax loopholes, Trumka said.

The Executive Paywatch page, which has been following executive pay since 1997, is the most visited part of the AFL-CIOs website, according to Josh Goldstein, spokesman for the labor organization. He said the AFL-CIO plans to update the list with additional case studies and executive pay for the remaining S&P 500 CEOs later this year.

Most of the S&P 500 companies do not report their executive bonuses until March or April, depending on the fiscal years of the companies.

Trumka said the approach to CEO pay this year may be different because of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, signed by the president last July. The comprehensive law includes a requirement that public companies disclose the ratio of CEO pay to median worker pay.

"The law will help investors and the public learn which companies provide fair wages and good jobs to their employees, compared with those that have outrageous CEO-to-worker pay disparities," he said.

This week, Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin said in a speech to the Pew Charitable Trusts that critics of the act have engaged "in a broad set of attacks against the law and its implementation."

"For the past nine months, regulators have been hard at work implementing these and many other critical reforms contained in Dodd-Frank," said Wolin. "Yet today, even as millions of Americans are still recovering from the crisis, some on Wall Street, K Street and Capitol Hill seek to slow down, roll back or even repeal these crucial reforms."

But the Obama administration said his office will "continue to oppose efforts to slow down, weaken or repeal these essential reforms."