Top 10 Highest-Paid CEOs, Chief Executive Officers 2012

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They are the heads of some of the largest corporations in the world. Encompassing a variety of fields, these men are the ones tasked to steer their companies to higher earnings, regardless of the economic situation. A lot of responsibility is given to these Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), so much so that they command and can demand top dollar. These are the top ten highest paid men at the helm:

 1.    John H. Hammergren

A graduate of the University of Minnesota and Xavier University, Mr. John H. Hammergren tops the list with compensation amounting to $131.19 million, almost double the one in second place. Mr. Hammergren has headed McKesson for the last 13 years, steering the supplier of software solutions and technological innovations to the healthcare industry to become the biggest in the industry. More impressively, he restored confidence to the company’s leadership after it got involved in accounting irregularities in 1999.

 2.    Ralph Lauren

Mr. Ralph Lauren is the founder and CEO of the eponymous household, personal product and clothing company. His compensation is $66.65 million a year. Born as Ralph Lifschitz in New York, Mr. Lauren attended, but dropped out of, Baruch College. He got his start in the fashion industry working as a salesman for Brooks Brothers. He then opened a necktie store where he sold his own designs under the Polo label. Polo eventually became a trademark of the RL Company.

 3.    Michael D. Fascitelli

Mr. Michael D. Fascitelli heads Vornado Realty, a diversified financial company. A product of the University of Rhode Island and Harvard University, he got his start in Bristol-Myers.  He got his training in real estate investment banking with Goldman Sachs & Co., where he became a partner in 1992. The chairman of Vornado Realty later lured him to transfer in 1996. His latest annual income is $64.4 million.

 4.    Richard D. Kinder

Mr. Richard D. Kinder is the CEO of oil and gas company Kinder Morgan where he earns $60.94 million a year.  A lawyer by training from the University of Missouri, Mr. Kinder later joined Enron Corporation where he served as President and Chief Operating Officer from 1990 to 1996. He later started Kinder Morgan along with college friend Mr. William Morgan. Kinder Morgan then purchased Enron Liquids Pipeline for $40 million, before merging with KN Energy.

 5.    David M. Cote

Mr. David M. Cote is the CEO of Honeywell where he earns $55.79 million per year. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Mr. Cote has been at the helm of the conglomerate for the past 10 years. Before Honeywell, Mr. Cote was with General Electric, even serving as the President of GE Appliances in 1996. Despite his conservative leanings and membership in the Republican Party, he keeps close ties with President Barack Obama. The American president appointed him as a member of the Debt Commission in 2010.

 6.    George Paz

A product of the University of Missouri, Mr. George Paz is the CEO of Express Scripts.  He has headed the company for seven years where he earns an annual compensation of $51.52 million.  Mr. Paz steered the growth of Express Scripts by acquiring allied companies.  The most notable of these acquisitions was the 2009 purchase of the pharmacy benefit manager, or PBM, business of Well Point.  These big purchases have been skillfully integrated into Express Scripts.  Mr. Paz is also known for maintaining the company’s independence from big pharmaceutical corporations, thereby keeping medicines affordable and safe for optimal health outcomes.

 7.    Jeffery H. Boyd

With total annual compensation of $50.18 million, Mr. Jeffery H. Boyd has been the CEO of Priceline, a business services and supplies company, for the past ten years. Priceline is the leader in global online hotel reservations composed of four primary brands, namely booking.com, priceline.com, agoda.com and rentalcars.com. The Priceline Group provides online travel services in over 180 countries in Europe, North America, South America, the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa. Mr. Boyd used to be connected with Oxford Health Plans, Inc. where he served as its Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary. He then joined Priceline where he was initially the Chief Operating Officer, before he got appointed as the company’s President and co-CEO in August of 2002.  He is a product of St. Lawrence University in New York.

 8.    Stephen J. Hemsley

Mr. Stephen J. Hemsley is the CEO of the United Health Group, a corporation that specializes in health care equipment and services.  A graduate of Fordham University, Mr. Hemsley has an annual compensation of $48.83 million. He used to the Chief Financial Officer of Arthur Andersen, before transferring to the United Health Group in 1990.  Mr. Hemsley was implicated in a scandal in 2008 when shareholders brought a lawsuit to the Minneapolis District Court for his role in the backdating of the company’s stock options. Investigations have cleared him from wrongdoing and the legal actions have since been settled.

 9.    Clarence P. Cazalot, Jr.

Ninth on the list is Mr. Clarence P. Cazalot, Jr.  Mr. Cazalot is the CEO of Marathon Oil, a company engaged in oil and gas operations. A graduate of Louisiana State University, he is earning $43.71 million each year.  The oil and gas company based in Houston has been growing with Mr. Cazalot at the helm, as he has engineered its foreign expansion with gas investments in Equatorial Guinea and oil investments in Norway, Gabon and Libya. While smaller assets are being disposed of, Marathon Oil’s income from its projects and investments abroad have helped triple its profits.

 10.  John C. Martin

At $43.19 million per year, Mr. John C. Martin’s compensation with Gilead Sciences ranks tenth on our list. Mr. Martin is a product of Purdue University, and he also holds a doctoral degree from the University of Chicago. Gilead Sciences is a drugs and biotechnology firm that is considered the leader in providing inexpensive HIV medicines to the developing world. Aside from HIV, the company’s research has also lead to medicines used to treat hepatitis B and influenza.

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Top 10 Highest-Paid CEOs, Chief Executive Officers 2012