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5 Most Overpaid CEOs

Despite last year's financial tumult, these five CEOs are still sitting pretty.
Here is the Corporate Library's list of the "Highest Paid Worst Performers" of 2008.
Michael Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch :
The Corporate Library, a corporate governance research firm, reviewed regulatory filings from 2,000 publicly traded companies and came up with a list of five chief executives they're calling the "Highest Paid Worst Performers" of 2008.
To make the list, a CEO had to have total realized income -- including base salary, bonuses and stock -- of at least $30 million last year. At the same time, the share price of the companies they oversaw had to have underperformed rivals and the broad sampling of stocks in the S&P 500 over the last five years.
Abercrombie's Michael Jeffries was awarded total compensation of $71.8 million last year, with a base salary of $1.5 million, according to the Corporate Library.
His compensation package included a $6 million "stay bonus" designed to keep him on board, despite his 17-year tenure, as well as perks such as the use of a corporate jet.
The Corporate Library notes that Jeffries is compensated at "the upper quartile" of his peer group. In other words, the compensation committee that determines his pay assures he'll be paid more than what 75% of his rival CEOs get.
"If you do that, you're almost guaranteed to overpay your CEO," said Paul Hodgson, a senior researcher at the Corporate Library.
An Abercrombie spokeswoman declined to comment.
James W. Stewart, BJ Services Company :
The bulk of James Stewart's $34.6 million windfall came from value realized on stock options, which resulted in a $30 million jackpot, according to the Corporate Library.
Stewart was granted those options more than five years ago. So they were still valuable despite the fact that the company's stock was halved in 2008.
Shares of BJ Services have outperformed other energy companies over the last 12 months, but the stock has trailed its peers and the broader market over a 5-year period, according to the Corporate Library.
BJ Services was acquired last month by rival Baker Hughes for $5.5 billion. Stewart remains chief executive until the deal closes at the end of 2009.
BJ did not respond to efforts requesting comment.
Brian Roberts, Comcast Corp. :
While the cable and Internet provider's stock has performed well over the last 12 months, the company has lagged the industry over the years.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts received total compensation of $40.8 million last year, Corporate Library said. That includes a $2.7 million base salary and over $22 million in earnings related to stock options. Roberts received a relatively small "discretionary bonus" of $881,027 and a "very substantial" bonus of $7.4 million under a non-equity incentive plan, Hodgson said.
Comcast said in a statement that its 2008 performance was "strong despite what was one of the most challenging economic and competitive environments in decades." The company said its executive compensation practices are "closely aligned with shareholders' interests" and a "major factor in our success."
John Faraci, International Paper :
Shares of the Memphis, Tenn-based paper company sank 63% last year, compared with a 38% drop in the S&P 500 index, according to the report.
Despite such a drubbing, the company's CEO got total compensation of $38.2 million.
According to the Corporate Library, John Faraci's compensation included $21 million in pension payments he received while still working at the company. Faraci, 59, has been CEO for six years.
International Paper said in a statement that Faraci's total compensation was $13 million and that the Corporate Library "mistakenly included" the pension payments.
Eugene Isenberg, Nabors Industries :
With total compensation of $79.3 million, Eugene Isenberg ranked No. 8 on the list of 10 highest paid CEOs, according to Corporate Library.
In 2008, shares of the oil and gas drilling company plummeted 51%, although the company's stock has outperformed industry rivals over the last 12 months.
Isenberg's total compensation was driven mostly by a $58.7 million bonus, which was calculated based on a percentage of the company's cash flow. Over the years, this formula has resulted in $625 million in "aggregate bonuses" for Isenberg.
A Nabors spokesman said Isenberg recently renegotiated his contract and that his bonus formula is now based less on company cash flow.
by Ben Rooney/ CNNMoney.

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