Top Richest CEOs

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The CEOs of America’s 500 biggest companies got a collective pay raise of 16% last year earning total compensation of $5.2 billion. That’s an average $10.5 million apiece. Exercised stock options and vested stock awards account for 60% of total pay for this group of 500 firms. Those components of compensation is the reason these CEOs are on list of highest-paid.

1. John Hammergren of McKesson

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One-year total compensation ($MIL): $131.2
The highest-paid CEO on this year’s report has been CEO of McKesson, a Calif.-based medical supply company, for 13 years. The bulk of 2011 pay came from cashed out stock options with his salary and bonus remaining flat from a year ago. MCK stock was up 20% in fiscal year ending Mar. 31, 2011.

2. Ralph Lauren of Ralph Lauren

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One-year total compensation ($MIL): $66.7
A Forbes Billionaire (Net Worth $7.5 billion) is a Bronx native and opened his New York City flagship store in the fall of 2010. He started Polo with $50,000 in 1976. The company now sells clothing, shoes, jewelry, home goods, fragrances.

3. Michael Fascitelli of Vornado Realty

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One-year total compensation ($MIL): $64.4**Prior-year figure.
Took over as CEO three years ago, replacing Forbes Billionaire Steven Roth. The real estate investment trust Vornado Realty owns 100 million square feet of office space in New York and Washington, D.C.

4. Richard Kinder of Kinder Morgan

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One-year total compensation ($MIL): $60.9
*Received $1 in salary.Net worth: $8.2 billion
Paid $1 in annual salary. A former Army captain, Kinder quit as Enron president in 1996 and built a pipeline company with friend William Morgan. In 2011, Kinder Morgan, agreed to acquire El Paso Corp. and the combined company will boast some 80,000 miles of pipelines.

5. David Cote of Honeywell

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One-year total compensation ($MIL): $55.8
Cote’s bonus ($23.3 million) was tied to Honeywell’s 13% sales growth and 19% segment profit growth in 2011. Honeywell’s stock was up 2% in 20011 and up 15% year-to-date.

6. George Paz of Express Scripts

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One-year total compensation ($MIL): $51.5**Prior-year figure.
Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions have agreed to a $29.1 billion merger (announced in late July, 2011) which is due to close in the first half of this year, pending regulatory approvals. Paz has been CEO since 2005 and sits on Honeywell’s Board of Directors since 2004.

7. Jeffery H. Boyd of Priceline.com

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One-year total compensation ($MIL): $50.2**Prior-year figure.
Boyd has been CEO since 2002 and has delivered an annualized 51% to shareholders during his tenure. Priceline’s sales have grown from $997 million to $4.3 billion over the same time period. He is perennially among the best bosses in our bang-for-the-buck scorecard.

8. Stephen Hemsley of UnitedHealth Group

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One-year total compensation ($MIL): $48.8**Prior-year figure.
Became CEO in 2006, when the scandal over backdated stock options claimed one of corporate America’s most successful chief executives, William McGuire, who agreed to leave the giant health insurer after an internal probe concluded that the stock-option grants were likely manipulated.

9. Clarence P. Cazalot Jr. of Marathon Oil

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One-year total compensation ($MIL): $43.7
In July, 2011 Marathon Oil completed the spinoff of Marathon Petroleum, which received a $15 billion valuation from the market. Marathon Oil CEO Clarence Cazalot Jr. additionally assumed the position of chairman after the spin-off.

10. John C Martin of Gilead Sciences

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One-year total compensation ($MIL): $43.2
Under Martin’s leadership, Gilead has become the second-most-valuable independent biotech company behind Amgen. Gilead’s drug Altripla, combining three medications in a single pill, is the most prescribed HIV treatment in America and is expected to remain so for years.

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