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An Early Read on 2011’s Top 5 Paid CEOs

Financial firms continue to take flack for what many see as the outsized compensation they pay, but an early look at CEO pay for 2011 shows the biggest paychecks were doled out to the top executives at entertainment firms.

Philippe Dauman
AP
Philippe Dauman

Pay consultant Steven Hall and Partners examined the first 100 proxies filed by firms with over $1 billion in revenue. The proxies were filed between January 1, 2012 and March 7, 2012, and the study included only those companies whose CEOs had been in the job for at least two years.

These rankings are likely to change given hundreds of more large companies will be filing their proxies in the coming weeks, but in this first pass, Viacom’s Philipe Dauman comes out on top when it comes to 2011 pay. The entertainment giant paid Dauman $43.1 million total compensation, a 49 percent decrease from 2010 when a huge retention grant pushed his total pay above $80 million. Dauman’s pay fell even as Viacom delivered a 22.5 percent increase in total shareholder return for 2011.

Second Top Paid CEO for 2011

Second on the top paid list, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger.

Jordan Strauss | WireImage | Getty Images

Hit total compensation jumped 12 percent to $31.3 million dollars even as total shareholder return for investors in the operator of theme parks and movie studios dropped eight percent last year.

Third Top Paid CEO for 2011

Chipmaker Qualcomm doubled the stock awards granted to CEO Paul Jacobs in 2011, bringing his total pay to $21.7 million.

Qualcomm CEO, Paul Jacobs
Getty Images
Qualcomm CEO, Paul Jacobs

Jacob’s 17 percent increase in pay coming for a year in which Qualcomm’s total shareholder return, or stock price appreciation and dividend payouts, rose 14.7 percent.

Fourth Top Paid CEO for 2011

Number four on the list is Nicholas Howley, CEO of TransDigm .

Transdigm
Source: transdigm.com
Transdigm

The maker of aircraft components doling out nearly $18 million in stock options to its CEO last year, bringing Howley’s total compensation to $21.7 million, an 89% increase in a year total shareholder return rose a healthy 31.6%.

Fifth Top Paid CEO for 2011

The fifth highest paid CEO on the list, Randall Stephenson of AT&T .

Randall Stephenson, Chairman, President and CEO of AT&T, Inc.
Getty Images
Randall Stephenson, Chairman, President and CEO of AT&T, Inc.

The $18.7 million paid by the telecom giant, a 9% increase from Stephenson compensation in 2010, even as investors saw an 8% decline in total shareholder return last year.

As for median CEO pay, this early look at the numbers suggests pay in the C-suite jumped for the second year in a row. Median total compensation for the 100 CEOs reviewed by Steven Hall & Partners rising 7 percent to $6.1 million.

Follow Mary Thompson on Twitter: @MThompsonCNBC

*All numbers courtesy of Steven Hall and Partners.

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