Once again, the top earners in our executive pay chart belonged to automotive parts supplier Magna International Inc.: Four of the best-paid five executives came from that Canadian firm.
In fact, the list would include one more chart topper, if not for how Plastics News treats a very unusual pay arrangement for company Chairman Frank Stronach.
Stronach, whose family essentially controls the Aurora, Ontario, company through special voting shares, gets only a US$200,000 salary for running the US$20.6 billion firm. But he collects a whopping US$40.1 million from money run through subsidiaries and consulting companies.
The firm's filings with the Canadian government list as Stronach's compensation a US$38.6 million payment to firm Stronach & Co., associated with the chairman, for business development, and another US$1.5 million paid to Stronach personally by an Austrian subsidiary of the company.
Rather than put that in the ranking, we instead highlight the arrangement separately. Pension funds have criticized Stronach's pay arrangement.
We also do not include Magna's figures when reporting average annual compensation in our stories, because they first joined our ranking in 2002 and are almost three times larger than the second-biggest firm in our ranking.
Including them in average figures would distort comparisons with prior years. For example, without Magna, the 100 best-paid executives took home an average $1.22 million last year. Including Magna would boost that to $1.58 million.
Stronach started Magna himself, and the firm has an unusual corporate governance system, mandating that specific percentages of profit go to executives, employees and shareholders, an arrangement that Magna said has helped it grow rapidly.
Magna's executives were paid well last year. The best-paid corporate leader in our ranking, Executive Vice Chairman Siegfried Wolf, took home US$15.1 million in total compensation, both from cash and stock, including a special bonus of US$5.27 million. That was in addition to his regular US$4.68 million cash bonus.