It’s that time of year; birds are singing, allergies are kicking, occupiers are occupying and Forbes has released its annual list of the most highly paid CEOs. It will gladden or infuriate, depending on your point of view, as Forbes immediately acknowledges.
“Our report on executive compensation will only fuel the outrage over corporate greed,” it writes. “In 2011 the chief executives of the 500 biggest companies in the U.S. got a collective pay raise of 16% last year, to $5.2 billion. This compares with a 3% pay raise for the average American worker. The total averages out to $10.5 million apiece.”
So much for the “moral suasion” granted to shareholders last year with the first-ever say-on-pay votes for U.S. public companies, the magazine adds. A no vote, already a rare thing, is hardly ever binding.
The top earner in the report is John Hammergren of the medical supply company McKesson, with $131 million in total pay.
Seventeen female CEOs made the list, the highest paid being Irene Rosenfeld of Kraft Foods with $25.4 million in total pay last year.
Forbes also points to five executives who take $1 in annual salary. Four are Forbes Billionaires: Larry Ellison of Oracle, Larry Page of Google, Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard and Richard Kinder of Kinder Morgan. The other executive is John Mackey of Whole Foods.
Here are the top five:
5. David Cote of Honeywell
One-year total compensation: $55.8 million. Cote’s bonus ($23.3 million) was tied to 13% sales growth and 19% segment profit growth at Honeywell (HON) in 2011, according to Forbes. Honeywell’s stock was up 2% in 20011 and up 15% year-to-date.