sifted through data from the S&P 500 to find the 21 CEOs with the largest average compensation packages over the last four years, from 2007 to 2011,” Deborah Caldwell and Gina Francolla report for CNBC. “(Figures for 2012 are incomplete.)”

“The source of the compensation data is CapIQ,” Caldwell and Francolla report. “Compensation is defined as salary, cash bonus, stock awards, option awards, nonequity incentive plan, change in pension value, and all other compensation (such as contributions to 401(k)s and life insurance premium payments). Some of the CEOs on our list have been with their companies for less than four years, and those cases are noted.”

Caldwell and Francolla report, “We also looked at each company’s year-to-date stock percentage gain.” claims Apple CEO Tim Cook is the #1 highest paid CEO:
Tim Cook
Apple Inc. (AAPL)
Average compensation: $95 million
Year-to-date stock gain: 32.56 percent
CEO since: August 2011
With the company since: 1998
Age: 52
Note: Steve Jobs resigned as CEO Aug. 24, 2011, and upon taking on the new role, Cook received stock awards valued at $376 million.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Cook’s stock award is meant to keep him at the helm of the world’s most valuable company for the long term. Half of it vests in 2016 and the remaining half not until 2021. Also of note, at Tim Cook’s request, none of his unvested Apple Inc. Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) will participate in Apple Inc. dividend payments (see related article below).

Related article:
Apple CEO Tim Cook declines RSU dividends worth in excess of $75 million – May 24, 2012