WASHINGTON (AFP) ― Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg set a new record for corporate compensation in 2012 with a package worth more than $2.278 billion, according to a survey by a corporate governance firm.
The report by GMI Ratings showed Zuckerberg’s salary of $503,000 and bonus of $266,000 were eclipsed by stock options worth some $2.27 billion.
This was the first year the survey found any chief executive collected more than $1 billion, according to the GMI report released Tuesday.
One other CEO’s compensation also topped $1 billion in 2012, energy giant Kinder Morgan’s Richard Kinder, paid a salary of $1 and given stock worth more than $1.1 billion.
Those two overshadowed other CEOs, with the third-highest paid being Sirius XM Radio’s Mel Karmazin at $255 million, followed by Liberty Media’s Gregory Maffei ($254 million) and Apple’s Tim Cook ($143 million).
Maffei also collected $136 million for his role of CEO at Liberty Interactive Corp., the seventh highest on the list. Putting those two together would make him the third highest-paid with $390 million.
In the survey of 2,259 North American publicly traded companies, GMI said pay increased a median of 8.47 percent. For the companies in the Standard and Poor’s 500 index, compensation rose 19.65 percent at the median.
“In the more than ten years that GMI has been publishing this report, I’ve never seen a top ten highest paid list that loomed this large,” said Greg Ruel, author of the report.
“While the companies in this year’s list have performed well over the past three and five year periods in terms of shareholder return, generally speaking, it’s the sheer size and volume of equity awards granted to these top executives that catapults their total compensation to astronomical levels.”
The massive compensation packages are generally due to stock awards, often in the form of options which allow a CEO to buy shares at a fixed price and cash in on gains.