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The Highest Paid Chief Executives

Although 2009 was a volatile year for the markets, most companies had dramatic upswings in share prices from March lows. At the same time, many CEOs came under criticism for recessionary belt-tightening amid high unemployment.

Some CEOs, however, are looking at what the Associated Press calls a “once in a lifetime pay bonanza,” because they received stock compensation when the market was at its lows and later profited from its huge recovery.

As most public companies have released information on executive compensation, CNBC.com reviewed information from Capital IQ on “total calculated compensation” which includes salary, bonuses and estimates of stock and stock option awards. For comparison, we’ve also provided information on stock performance over the past year, although for some of these CEOs, their first day on the job was sometime mid-year 2009.

So, who were the most highly compensated CEOs in 2009? Click ahead to find out!

By Paul Toscano & Giovanny Moreano
Posted 11 May 2010

Source: CNBC Analytics, Capital IQ, Thomson Reuters || Photo: Jupiterimages | Getty Images