Median total annual compensation for chief executives officers at public companies declined by only 0.08 percent in 2008, according to a study by The Corporate Library, a research firm.
The decline in CEO compensation is much smaller than the decrease in S&P 500 index, which fell 37 percent in 2008.
In the report, which includes data from more than 2,700 public companies, The Corporate Library says the findings suggest that the link between CEO pay and firm performance remains weak.
"While these findings are historic, in that we have never seen a decline in CEO compensation since we began this series of surveys in 2002, if there were ever an argument that pay is fatally divorced from performance then this is surely it," said Senior Research Associate Paul Hodgson, co-author of the report.
In addition, about 75 percent of CEOs received an increase in base salary in 2008, up from 73 percent in 2007.