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Corporate finance chiefs' pay up 19%

Chief financial officers are taking on more responsibility and getting paid more for it, as their companies come off a successful year, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
/ Source: msnbc.com news services

Chief financial officers are taking on more responsibility and getting paid more for it, as their companies come off a successful year, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The 2010 median salaries of CFOs for S&P 500 companies increased by 19 percent from a year earlier to $2.9 million, the paper's survey showed. Pay fell 5 percent in 2009 from 2008.

Companies have seen a 47 percent increase in profits and their stock portfolios have also done well, drawing a distinct correlation between company performance and executive pay.

Of the 431 companies surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, 108 said that the CFO was either the highest or second-highest paid executive.

"If you look at who the successors are when it's time for the CEO to retire, many times it is the CFO," Peter Miterko, managing director of compensation consultancy Pearl Meyer & Partners, told the WSJ.

Many of the CFOs are acting as treasurer, vice chairman or chief accounting officer for their companies, the report said.

The WSJ survey found that the pay varied from less than $600,000 to more than $60 million, with the top five receiving more than $20 million in compensation.

The two highest-paid CFOs were Viacom's Thomas Dooley, who made $64.6 million, and Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s Stephen Chazen, who made $38.1 million. Chazen became CEO of the company as of August.