Software major Oracle Corp founder and chief executive Larry Ellison topped the list of best-paid executives in public companies during the past decade, receiving $1.84 billion as compensation, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.
Sixty-five-year-old Ellison, who founded Oracle in 1977, holds 23 per cent stake in the company.
In the 10 years ended May 31, 2009, the most recent fiscal year for which Oracle has disclosed pay data, its market capitalisation nearly tripled to $98 billion, from $36 billion.
Barry Diller has bagged the second position in the list of 25 best-paid executives during the past decade. Diller received roughly $1.14 billion from IAC/InterActive and Expedia.Com, the online travel site IAC spun off in 2005, where he remains chairman.
In the third place is Occidental Petroleum Corp's CEO Ray Irani with $857 million, followed by Apple Inc's CEO Steve Jobs with $749 million and Capital One Financial Corp CEO Richard Fairbank with 569 million.
"Apple's Jobs also took a $1 annual salary throughout the decade. But he ranked fourth primarily because of a $647 million gain on restricted stock that was granted in 2003 and vested in 2006. He still holds the shares," the report noted.
Interestingly, four of the 10 highest-earning executives ran companies (IAC/InterActive, Countrywide, Capital One and Cendant Corp) whose shareholders lost money over the decade.
Among other CEOs on the list are Yahoo's Terry S Semel ($489.60 million), Michael S Dell of Dell Inc ($453.80 million), Qualcomm Irwin' s Mark Jacobs ($436.8 million), Sanford I Weill of Citigroup ($360.9 million), and Colgate-Palmolive's Reuben Mark ($357.6 million).
Further, several of the wealthiest executives were not among the top earners. Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway Inc receives only a nominal compensation. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates stepped down as CEO in January 2000, and retired as a Microsoft employee in 2008.
The Journal analysis included salaries, bonuses, perks and realised gains on both restricted stock and stock options. It excluded new grants of restricted stock and stock options.