Blackstone (BX) Chief Makes $702 Million

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The thoughts of restricting the pay packages of the CEOs of public companies may be in the air, but new data on chief executive compensation show that boards of directors are not taking any of it seriously.

Stephen Schwarzman, head of financial firm Blackstone (BX), made over $702 million in 2008 based on data from The Corporate Library.

Schwarzman made almost all of the money on the vesting of shares in Blackstone which he received when the company went public. Blackstone stock is down over 40% during the last two years, but the CEO does not appear to be paying for that.

The most stunning name on the top ten compensation list of 2008 is Michael Jeffries of Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF). Its sales have been falling in double digits for month. Jeffries made $72 million, 86% of that from the exercising of options and vesting of restricted stock. ANF shares are down 55% over the last two years.

Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle (ORCL) was No.2 on the list with total compensation of $557 million. His board has a strong defense for his pay package. Oracle’s shares are up over 15% during the last two years while the DJIA has dropped almost 30%.

The boom in energy prices, which largely ended last year, helped line the pockets of eight of the top ten CEOs who all run petroleum or coal companies.

Ray Irani of Occidental  (OYX) made $224 million. John Hess of Hess (HES) made $160 million. Mark Watford of Ultra Petroleum (UPL) made $117 million. Aubrey McClendon of Chesapeake Energy (CHK) made $114 million. Bob Simpson of XTO (XTO) made $104 million. Mark Papa of EOG Resources (EOG) made $90 million, and Eugene Isenberg of Nabors (NBR) made $79 million.

With the collapse in energy prices, the oil chiefs are not likely to make the list release a year from now.

Douglas A. McIntyre