20 highest paid CEOs

These 20 corporate chiefs took home the most pay in 2009. Some of their companies were profitable, and others...not so much.

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1. Larry Ellison: $84.5 million
Larry Ellison: $84.5 million
Company: Oracle
Cash compensation: $6.1 million
Stock and options: $78.4 million

It's been a good past few months for Oracle's brash CEO: Ellison won the America's Cup sailing event in February, and the just-finalized proxy filings showed he took home more pay than any other U.S. CEO in 2009.

The software giant also had a big year in 2009, snatching up Sun Microsystems when a Sun takeover by rival IBM seemed all but certain. Sales and profits rose modestly, and Oracle's stock, which rose 33.2% in 2009, outpaced most of its chief competitors.

Most of Ellison's pay came in the form of stock option awards, which he has made use of recently: In 2008, Ellison exercised a stunning 36 million options, banking $543 million.

Source: Equilar Inc.
NEXT: Ray Elliott: $33.4 million
Last updated April 06 2010: 4:17 PM ET
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Note: Total compensation includes actual salary received, discretionary and performance-based bonus payouts, the grant-date fair value of new stock and option awards and other compensation. If relevant, other compensation includes severance payments. Equilar, an executive compensation research firm, looked at 200 CEOs at the 199 largest companies (Motorola has co-CEOs) that filed their 2009 proxies as of March 26, 2010. All companies have revenue greater than $5.7 billion. The list includes companies with fiscal year-ends spanning from May 31, 2009 to January 31, 2010.
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