Ray Irani and Angelo Mozilo will never have trouble gassing up the Bentley or paying the mortgage on the mansion.

But the compensation packages that they and other L.A.-area chief executives received in 2007 did moderate in some respects from previous years' highs.

In line with a ragged year in the stock markets, several top executives at Los Angeles County's 50 largest public companies pulled down smaller paychecks and other compensation in 2007. The total was 8 percent less than 2006 but still hit $406 million a figure that drew ire from an executive compensation reform advocate.

"When you consider the kind of paychecks these guys have been taking home since 2001, moderation in 2007 was little more than an attempt to stave off shareholder backlash," said Jerry Flanagan of Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog.

L.A.'s highest paid CEO once again was Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s Irani, who easily topped the list with $77.6 million in total company compensation, 40 percent higher than in 2006. His $1.3 million base salary didn't change, but he received a bonus that was 53 percent higher in a year when the company reported record profits amid record oil prices, and struck deals to explore for oil in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East.

For its annual executive compensation survey, the Business Journal ranks CEOs by total compensation, which includes salary, bonus, new stock grants and options, as well as "other" compensation such as payments for country club dues and home security. It's based on data culled from company proxies and other Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

But that usually doesn't give the complete picture of what an executive makes. Add in the value of stocks that were granted in previous years and vested last year, and options that were exercised, and the aggregate compensation of the 50 CEOs last year totaled $783 million. That's down a whopping 32 percent from 2006 when it hit $1.14 billion.

A major reason for the decline: The total value of exercised options dropped 50 percent to $230 million, with the value of vested stock grants down 40 percent to $146 million. Because of the down market, executives exercised fewer options last year and when they did they were worth less.

For example, Irani did not exercise options last year, lowering his aggregate compensation to $126 million. That was unlike 2006 when he exercised hundred of millions of dollars in stock options to push his aggregate compensation above a jaw-dropping $464 million.


For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.