NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
CEOs at the nation's top corporations saw their bonuses soar by nearly half to more than $1 million last year, according to a published report.
The Wall Street Journal, citing a survey of 100 major U.S. corporations conducted for the newspaper by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, found a 46.4 percent jump in last year's bonuses.
The median bonus was $1.14 million. That gain and that amount were both the highest in the five-year old survey's history.
The median 2004 bonus equaled 141 percent of the CEOs' annual salary, on average, also the highest level in the survey's history. The newspaper said that compares to an average bonus equal to only 5 percent of pay for clerical and technical-support staff who work for companies that grant bonuses across the board.
The newspaper said the biggest winners include Michael Eisner of Walt Disney Co. (Research), who was stripped of the chairman's title when 45 percent of the shares voted against his re-election to the board at the company's 2004 annual meeting, and John Tyson at Tyson Foods (Research), the target of a recent Securities and Exchange Commission probe into compensation for Don Tyson, his father and predecessor.
Eisner's bonus for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 was $7.25 million, according the newspaper, compared with no bonus the year before. A Disney spokeswoman told the newspaper management bonuses were based on earnings growth of more than 60 percent. She said Eisner's base salary is also lower than those of CEOs at comparable companies.
Tyson's bonus more than doubled to $5.4 million bonus for the year ended Oct. 2, according to the newspaper. A Tyson spokesman told the newspaper the bonus was due to record profits last year.