There's money to be made on Wall Street -- but it's the CEOs of media companies that are pulling down some of the biggest bucks in New York City.
amNew York's look at executive pay at the 100 largest public New York City companies by sales shows that Les Moonves, chief executive of CBS Corp., is the city's 2011 corporate pay king with a package of just under $70 million. It was a raise of more than 20 percent from the $57 million and change he made in 2010.
To compile the pay list, amNew York asked S&P Capital IQ, a data and analysis company, to pull executive-pay numbers for the top 100 public companies in the city from its compensation database. S&P builds the database from the numbers the companies themselves report in their annual proxy statements to shareholders.
Public companies are required to report executive pay -- for the chief executive, chief financial officer and the three other highest-compensated executive officers -- to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The eighth- or ninth-best paid employee at one company may make far more than the CEO of a smaller company who's on our list. Also, many nonexecutive Wall Street financiers, such as hedge fund managers, may make as much or more than many of the people named in our list.
Total compensation includes salaries and cash bonuses, the estimated value of the stock awards handed out by the companies, and other pay such as increases in the value of executive pensions.
The stock awards can end up being worth much more -- or much less -- in coming years based on the performance of the company. Pay packages often include both "restricted stock," which executives can only sell gradually over time, and stock options, which give them the right over the next several years to purchase shares at a set price. If a company's shares decline, the value of the restricted stock falls and the options may become unusable.
But better or worse, none of the top executives on the list will be hurting. Moonves' package included a $3.5 million salary, a $27.5 million bonus, and almost $36 million worth of share awards, most of which were options.
Six other executives had pay packages of $30 million or more, including Ralph Lauren, CEO of Ralph Lauren Corp.; Rupert Murdoch and Chase Carey, the CEO and president, respectively, of News Corp.; and Viacom chief operating officer Thomas Dooley.
Annaly Capital Management Inc., a real-estate investment trust with headquarters on Avenue of the Americas, paid its top two officers, Michael A.J. Farrell and Wellington Jamie Denahan-Norris, bonuses of $32 million in 2011, based on the value of the company.
There are 516 executives on our list. The median 2011 pay package -- the one that ranks in the middle -- is $3.37 million. In 2010, the median figure for these 516 executives' pay was $2.96 million -- about 12 percent less than 2011.