15 execs who make more than their CEOs

Sure, corporate chiefs' pay often is eye-poppingly high. But at some companies, executives lower down the ladder quietly out-earned their CEO bosses.

Steven J. Kean, $30.8 million

richard d kinder
Kinder Morgan CEO Richard Kinder
  • Title: President and COO
  • Company: Kinder Morgan
  • CEO: Richard D. Kinder
  • Pay difference: $30.8 million

Kean joined the third largest energy company in North America in 2002 as a vice president of strategic planning and moved his way up to the COO spot in 2006.

Kean's annual salary accounts for only $150,000 of his blockbuster pay, but he received stock awards worth roughly $30 million last year. Meanwhile, Kinder only makes $1 a year as CEO, but don't worry: He made more than $1 billion in stock gains from shares he received when the company went private in 2007. --K.V.

Source: Equilar

Methodology: Equilar, an executive compensation research firm, looked at CEOs at U.S. public companies with more than $1 billion in market capitalization as of the most recent fiscal year end. Chairmen or former CEOs that serve in a higher position than the CEO are not included.

Total compensation is calculated as the sum of base salary, discretionary and performance-based cash bonuses, the grant-date fair value for stock and option awards during the fiscal year, and other compensation like earnings on deferred compensation, benefits and perks. Pensions are not included. Pay data based on companies' fiscal year end of Dec. 2013, the latest data available, unless otherwise noted. Cash compensation and stock and options increases may not add up exactly to total compensation increases due to rounding.
  @CNNMoney - Last updated December 18 2014 09:12 AM ET

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