7. Dan Hesse, Sprint
Dan Hesse, Sprint

Lately, critics have been piling on skepticism about Sprint's viability, given its large losses and high capital costs. But like EMC, the mobile carrier is a 2012 stock success story so far: shares are up more than 24% year-to-date.

Sprint also notched a victory when the AT&T/T-Mobile merger was killed in December; Hesse, with a very vested interest, was one of the most outspoken critics of the deal. He picked up an extra eight percentage points in his approval rating this year, taking it to 85%.

By Julianne Pepitone @CNNMoneyTech - Last updated March 30 2012: 3:10 PM ET
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Tech's highest-paid executives

You don't have to work at Oracle or Apple to be among the top-paid executives in the technology industry, but it helps.