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Forbes Releases List of Top Dollar-Makers

Salary: The highest paid chief in 1999 jumps from 39th. Several ranked chief executives come from computer firms.

May 01, 2000|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Six of the nation's top 10 highest paid chief executives head computer software or hardware firms, according to a ranking released Sunday by Forbes magazine.

The magazine ranked executives of the nation's top 800 companies by their total compensation packages for 1999, including salary, bonuses and stock gains.

No. 1 on the list was Charles Wang, head of Computer Associates International Inc. of Islandia, N.Y., with a 1999 compensation package totaling $650.1 million, Forbes said. He had ranked 39th in 1998, it said.

Two other newcomers to the top 10--who didn't even make the list last year--were Bobby Johnson Jr., chief executive of Foundry Networks Inc. in San Jose, Calif., and Stephen Case, head of America Online Inc. in Dulles, Va.

Forbes said Johnson's compensation totaled $230.5 million, giving him the No. 2 ranking, while Case collected $117.1 million to land in the No. 6 spot, the magazine said.

Other chief executives in the top 10 were Mel Karmazin of CBS, $201.9 million; Millard Drexler of Gap Inc., $172.8 million; John Chambers of Cisco Systems, $121.7; Louis Gerstner Jr. of IBM, $107.2 million; Jack Welch of General Electric, $106.9 million; Reuben Mark of Colgate-Palmolive, $97.2 million; and Peter Karmanos Jr. of Compuware, $87.5 million.

The top earner in 1998, Michael Eisner of Walt Disney Co., slipped to No. 16 in 1999, with total compensation of $50.7 million.

A high salary doesn't necessarily guarantee longevity. Stephen Hilbert, chairman of insurer Conseco Inc., who ranked 12th in 1999 with compensation of $75.1 million, resigned from his post Friday after the company got in trouble when it expanded beyond its core insurance business.

Forbes said that last year, just 23% of the top executives' compensation came from salaries and bonuses. The rest came from stock grants that vested or stock options they exercised. Five years ago, salaries and bonuses were 60% of total pay, the magazine said.

The cities with the highest median compensation of executives in 1999 were New York, $5.24 million; Minneapolis, $4.87 million; and Detroit, $3.64 million. They held the same ranks in 1998, Forbes said.

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