Compensation

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IN THIS REPORT

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Stock-option compensation has been in the crosshairs of shareholder activists and other critics. They contend that options provide too much incentive for executives to focus on the share price - and, perhaps, to cook the books.

Last year the compensation committees of corporate boards seemed to take that criticism to heart. In a reversal of a strong recent trend, the pay packages of many top-earning CFOs no longer sported whopping options components.

Yet even though finance chiefs saw steep declines in option gains, their median total compensation soared 21 percent. The reason? CFOs made hay in other areas, mainly bonuses and restricted stock.

Those were among the key findings of our 2003 special report on CFO compensation. We've based our report on a survey, conducted by Mercer Human Resources Consulting, of 250 CFOs at large public companies that filed proxy statements between July 30, 2002, and April 4, 2003.

In our feature article, ''Bonus Babies,'' deputy editor David M. Katz provides an aerial view of today's lofty pay packages. We also examine ten top-earning finance chiefs, take a ''where are they now'' look at top earners from last year, give an overview of CFO compensation at a selection of major companies, and provide a four-year comparison that tracks CFO compensation against company net income. A selection of recommended reading rounds out our report.

FEATURE ARTICLE

COMPENSATION, BY THE NUMBERS

RECOMMENDED READING FROM CFO.COM

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