April 28, 2011, 2:44 PM — As companies rode out the recession and slowly regained some sales momentum last year, profits started improving and stock prices began to recover. For CEOs that could only mean one thing: pay raises.
CEO compensation rebounded in 2010, according to professional services firm Towers Watson. Median cash compensation -- which includes base salary and bonuses -- increased 17% for CEOs in 2010. Total direct compensation -- which includes cash compensation plus long-term incentives and equity awards -- increased 9%.
CEO PAYDAY: What tech's top execs raked in for 2010
That's a significant comeback from 2009, when median cash compensation increased just 3% and total direct compensation declined 1%.
"Compensation for CEOs has returned to levels we haven't seen since before the economic crisis," said Doug Friske, global head of executive compensation consulting at Towers Watson, in a statement.
What does that mean for the tech industry? Here are 10 pay trends and observations gleaned from Network World's analysis of 36 tech companies' 2011 proxy statements.
1. Bonuses got bigger. Few tech CEOs saw their bonuses shrink in 2010. Most got bigger - and some by a lot. IBM CEO Sam Palmisano, for instance, earned a cash bonus of $9 million, which is nearly double the $4.8 million bonus he received in 2009. Cisco CEO John Chambers netted a bonus of $4.6 million, up from $2 million in 2009. NetApp CEO Tom Georgens got a $2 million bonus, up from $339,716 a year earlier.
2. Stock awards rose as performance improved. VMware grew revenue by 41% and profit by 81% in its 2010 fiscal year, and CEO Paul Maritz tripled his compensation, thanks to a grant of stock awards valued at $3.9 million (he didn't receive any equity awards in 2009). F5 Networks grew revenue and income by 35% and 65%, respectively, and CEO John McAdam received stock awards valued at $7.5 million (up 92% compared to a year earlier). EMC CEO Joe Tucci took home a $12.4 million package in 2010, including stock awards valued at $7.4 million (up 23%) and option awards valued at $1.3 million (up 39%); the company, meanwhile, reported a 21% revenue bump and 75% increase in net income.