A word on our methodology: Our story on trends in industry executive pay chose not to include data from Magna International Inc. when calculating average pay for executives in 2003 and 2002.
The company first joined our ranking in 2002. We excluded it because pay at Magna is so much larger than at other firms, and the company is much larger than any other processor in our ranking. We felt including Magna this year would distort average figures, particularly comparisons to the years before it was included in our pay survey.
Without Magna, average pay this year was $890,000. With them, it hit $1.28 million. Last year, average pay for the top 100 executives without Magna was about $1 million. Including Magna in the top 100 shot pay up to $1.25 million.
In other words, including Magna's supersized pay disguised the decline among other companies that have historically been in our survey.