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HOUSTON -- ConocoPhillips executives claimed three of the top 10 spots on a list of the highest executive pay packages among Houston's largest companies in 2010. The survey, conducted for the Houston Chronicle by Longnecker & Associates, reported that ConocoPhillips' Chairman and CEO James Mulva received a 25-percent hike in compensation last year, putting him at $17.9 million and No. 4 on the top earners list. Now-retired President John Carrig was No. 9 in the rankings, with a $14.4 million pay package.
According to the report, executive pay packages at Houston companies surged in 2010 as firms started to recover from the recession and rewarded their leaders with big cash bonuses and valuable stock awards. The median executive package reached $1.76 million last year among more than 500 highest-paid leaders of publicly traded companies in Houston. That median jumped 24 percent in one year, outpacing pay growth for chief executive officers nationwide.
The top factor in the rise was a 43-percent increase in the median value of stock options and awards granted to the executives. That value reached $742,569 in 2010. The median bonus climbed 32 percent, hitting $400,550.
Nationally, median total compensation for top CEOs grew 11 percent in 2010, according to Hay Group, a management consulting firm. Its analysis -- which was independent of the one conducted for the Chronicle by Longnecker -- covered packages for leaders of the nation's 350 largest public companies by revenue.
Energy executives were among the big earners on the Houston list, although a manufacturing executive claimed the top spot. Kirk Hachigian -- CEO, chairman and president of lighting manufacturer Cooper Industries -- took the No. 1 spot from last year's top earner, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. CEO James Hackett.
Overall, 76 of the 100 top-paid executives in Houston were with corporations involved in oil field work or pipelines.