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November 10, 2005
CEO Pay on the Rise

Median total compensation for chief executive officers in the United States was higher in all industries in 2004, according to a study by the Conference Board.

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Total compensation (salary, bonus, and long-term pay) for CEOs was highest in the construction industry at $2,836,000. It was lowest in transportation at $803,000. Total current compensation (salary plus bonus) was again highest in construction at $2,032,000 and lowest in transportation at $673,000. Construction also paid the highest median salary, $730,000. Lowest was computer services, which paid $430,000.

Stock option grants are becoming smaller but restricted stock grants have been getting larger, which indicates a shift in company stock compensation practices, according to the report.

"Profit performance was generally good in 2004," says Charles Peck, compensation specialist at the Conference Board. "As a result, annual bonus plans, which are usually based on profitability, paid off well in many cases."

The report is based on data from 3,143 companies in 14 major industries and reports the compensation paid to the five highest-paid executives.

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