Big Oil: Salary for Chevron CEO Jumps to $15 Million

Chevron's chairman and CEO received total compensation valued at $15.2 million in 2009, up 10 percent from 2008, as the nation's second-largest oil company saw its oil production business boom but its refineries struggle.

Laura Rauch

Most of David J. O'Reilly's compensation bump came in the form of a salary increase and a greater amount of stock and options awards, according to Associated Press calculations of data filed with regulators.

O'Reilly retired from Chevron at the end of 2009. In his final year with the company his salary rose nearly 9 percent to $1.79 million, and stock and option awards totaled $9.9 million on the days they were granted—up from $8.65 million in the prior year.

O'Reilly's performance-related bonus fell 7 percent to $3 million but the value of his perks nearly doubled to $517,228, including company contributions to his savings plans, financial planning, aircraft and vehicle use and $254,939 for accrued vacation.

In 2008, his compensation package totaled $13.8 million, including stock and options awards Chevron valued at $8.7 million when granted; a $1.65 million salary, a performance bonus of $3.22 million and other compensation totaling $266,884.

O'Reilly was succeeded Jan. 1 by John S. Watson, who had been vice chairman. Watson earned $7.24 million in 2009.

Like many other oil companies, Chevron, benefited last year from recovering oil prices but its refining business suffered as demand diminished. The company's earnings fell to $10.5 billion, or $5.24 per share, from $23.9 billion, or $11.67 per share in 2008.

Chevron, based in San Ramon, Calif., is expected to cut $1 billion this year from its downstream business, which includes refining, marketing and transportation.

The Associated Press formula is designed to isolate the value the company's board placed on the executive's total compensation package during the last fiscal year. It includes salary, bonus, performance-related bonuses, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year. The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits, making the AP total different in most cases than the total reported by companies to the SEC.

Chevron shares rose 4 percent during 2009 to finish the year at $76.99.