Top Five Highest-Paid, Worst-Performing CEOs

New report highlights five CEOs who are earning too much.

ByABC News
September 22, 2009, 3:27 PM

Sept. 22, 2009— -- While bank CEOs have been widely blamed for cashing in on bonuses and stock while their companies faltered, a new report by the compensation research firm The Corporate Library has ranked five CEOs, all outside of finance, as the "Highest Paid Worst Performers."

A study of 2,000 CEOs by the firm found that the chief executives of retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, oil services firm BJ Services, cable company Comcast, International Paper and petroleum company Nabors Industries all earned "significant payouts despite what really was very poor performance being delivered to shareholders," said Corporate Library senior research associate Paul Hodgson.

The firm presented its findings as part of a sneak peak of a report on executive compensation it plans to release this Thursday.

The CEOs, all of whom saw compensation in excess of $30 million each in 2008, are:

Investor returns for these companies all dropped at least 20 percent for the one-year period ending this past June. For Abercrombie, BJ and Nabors, the drops were closer to 60 percent.

Hodgson said that one of the reasons companies often overpay their CEOs is that they base much of their pay on what rivals are paying rather than the company's own performance.

"If you take that kind of attitude, you're almost guaranteed to overpay your CEO," he said.