CEO pay growth eases - slowest in 4 years

Increase of 9.3% in 2006 marks big decline from prior year.

NEW YORK ( -- The median pay for chief executive officers at corporations rose less than 10 percent for the first time since 2002, according to a study released Monday.

The 9.3 percent compensation increase was also much less than the 16 percent increase the prior year, said The Corporate Library, a corporate governance group.

"We haven't stopped, and we're certainly not in reverse. Even so, this is the first year we have seen possible single-digit increases since 2002," said Paul Hodgson, Senior Research Associate at The Corporate Library and author of the report, in a statement.

Pay increases at S&P 500 companies were much larger than those at smaller companies, with the median increasing over 23 percent, and median total pay over $10 million.

A report by The Corporate Library released in March found that the cost of reported perks and executive benefits in 2006 was 23 percent higher from a year earlier, at $112,894. A major reason for the big increase was under-reporting in the past.

The perks and benefits enjoyed by CEOs and a handful of other top executives may include personal use of company aircraft and cars, legal fees, financial planning services, country club memberships and housing and relocation costs.

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