Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs among America's five highest-earning CEOs

Oracle’s Larry Ellison has come top of a list of the 25 highest-paid executives of public companies during the past decade, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. He made $1.

Oracle’s Larry Ellison has come top of a list of the 25 highest-paid executives of public companies during the past decade, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. He made $1.84 billion. His friend Steve Jobs, boss of Apple, came fourth with $749 million.

In this case, pay includes “salaries, bonuses, perks and realized gains on both restricted stock and stock options”. The “realized gains on options accounted for 97% of Mr Ellison's total compensation,” says the Journal.

Most of Jobs’s income comprises the $647 million gain on restricted stock that vested in 2006. This means he actually earned his crust by multiplying the value of Apple shares, and as he still holds the stock, he hasn’t actually trousered the money.

Jobs, like some other American executives, draws a $1 salary to qualify for health and other company benefits.

Dell founder Michael Dell made $454 million even though Dell shares lost 66% of their value during the decade. The Journal adds: “A Dell spokesman said most of Mr Dell’s compensation reflected gains on options granted in the 1990s, when Dell’s stock price soared. He noted that Mr Dell hasn't received a bonus for four years and hasn't been granted stock or stock options for six years.”

The list was compiled by Professor Kevin Murphy of the University of Southern California, based on company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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