America’s 10 Highest Paid CEOs (Which Are Worth It?)

10. Mario J. Gabelli
> Company: GAMCO Investors (NYSE: GBL)
> Total 2010 compensation: $56.6 Million

GAMCO did not do very well for investors in 2010. The price of the company’s shares was flat, considerably underperforming the S&P 500 increase of 14% that year. The company manages mutual funds and other investments for private individuals and public enterprises. GAMCO had a relatively good year in terms of revenue and earnings growth. Revenue rose from $218 million in 2009 to $280 million in 2010. EPS was up from $2.03 to $2.55. Based on the relatively small size of the company and GAMCO’s performance, however, Gabelli is overpaid.

9. Ronald A. Williams
> Company: Aetna (NYSE: AET)
> Total 2010 compensation: $57.8 million

Aetna’s shares were down 7% in 2010, underperforming the S&P 500 by a large margin. Williams’ pay was based on several factors, none of which was stock price. EPS, pre-tax operating margins and an increase in the dividend were the major measures of his performance, according to the board. The board can make the case, persuasively, that the insurance firm had a good year financially in 2010. The company’s EPS rose from $2.84 in 2009 to $4.18 last year, even though revenue fell slightly from $28.3 billion to $27.6 billion. Williams retired in 2011. The board gave Williams a relatively reasonable gift as he left, at least based on 2010 performance.

Also Read: America’s Most (and Least) Charitable States

8. Michael D. Fascitelli
> Company: Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO)
> Total 2010 compensation: $64.4 million

Vornado’s shares significantly outperformed the S&P 500 in 2010, up over 17% for the year. The board relies on EBITDA and total return to shareholders to set pay. Both improved in 2010 compared to 2009 as EBITDA rose from $1.7 billion to $2.2 billion. Vornado produced strong financials on a GAAP basis as well. Net income per share rose to $3.24 in 2010 from $0.28 the year before. Revenue rose from $2.7 billion to $2.8 billion. Fascitelli is a CEO who earned what he made.

7. Ralph Lauren
> Company: Polo Ralph Lauren (NYSE: RL)
> Total 2010 compensation: $66.7 million

The clothing designer and manufacturer gave investors an extremely good return on their holdings in 2010, as share price jumped 35%. In the fiscal year that ended last April 2, EPS rose from $4.85 to $5.91. Revenue grew by 13% to $5.7 billion. The one question investors might ask is whether Lauren’s compensation is based on fair deliberations by his board. The CEO owns shares that hold 75.6% of the corporation’s voting rights.

Also Read: Cars So Hot They Are Out Of Stock

6. Adam Metz
> Company: General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP)
> Total 2010 compensation: $66.7 million

With General Growth, timing of was a major factor, and it highly matters to investors who put money into the company before it emerged from Chapter 11. The company entered bankruptcy in April 2009, and it became clear as early as April 2010 that it would exit Chapter 11 later in the year. The company began regular operations when the final reorganization was approved last November. The gain in the company’s shares from early 2010 to the end of the year was 14 fold. While the bankruptcy process makes it impossible to make reasonable P&L comparisons from 2009 to 2010, revenue has remained steady. Metz earned his money for those who took a chance on the company’s stock early last year.

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.