After a 38% collective pay raise in 2006, chief executives of the 500 biggest companies in the U.S. (as measured by a composite ranking of sales, profits, assets and market value) took a pay cut of 15% last year. The last time the big bosses took a pay hit was in 2002. In total, these 500 executives earned $6.4 billion in 2007, an average of $12.8 million apiece.
The top earner of 2007 was Oracle (nasdaq: ORCL) chief Larry J. Ellison. Ellison drew just a $1 million salary, but realized $182 million from the exercise of vested stock options last year.