Bigger isn’t always better.

While it sits near the bottom of the Top 50 public companies in Los Angeles when ranked by market capitalization, downtown L.A.’s Oaktree Capital Group nevertheless managed to place five executives near the top of the list of highest-paid non-chief executives in Los Angeles County. (See page 22.)

Leading the charge at Oaktree is Caleb Kramer, London-based managing director of the company’s European portfolio, whose aggregate compensation last year reached $31.2 million, second only to the list topper Ray Irani of Occidental Petroleum Corp.

The Oaktree executives, who as a group received $86 million in 2012 compensation, debuted on the list by virtue of the firm’s initial public offering last year. The data collected by the Business Journal also, for the first time, includes information from all companies on the LABJ Stock Index, not just the 50 biggest companies. Rankings are based on total compensation, including salary, bonuses, stock and option grants, and additional incentives.

At the top of non-CEO list is Irani, Oxy’s former chief executive, who received $45.6 million in 2012 as executive chairman of the Westwood-headquartered oil company. His compensation – made up primarily of bonuses and stock awards – was nevertheless 8 percent lower than the prior year, when he brought home $49.8 million. Despite the decline, his compensation was higher than every L.A. chief executive except Activision Blizzard Inc.’s Robert Kotick, who topped the Business Journal’s list of highest-paid chief executives with $64.9 million in compensation last year. (See page 19.)

Kramer, No. 2 on the list, did not earn a salary or receive bonuses last year, according to company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Instead, his compensation was driven by his interests in Oaktree’s funds and management fees from the investment funds that he manages. His compensation was helped last year by Oaktree’s initial public offering. In total, he received $9 million in stock awards for the year.

Rounding out the top three is Irving Azoff, who made $27.4 million as executive chairman of Beverly Hills’ Live Nation Entertainment last year. Azoff stepped down from that role at the end of the year.

The inclusion of all L.A.-headquartered public companies also brought an exec from another smaller company into the top 10: Mary Ricks, who is chief executive of Kennedy-Wilson Holdings’ European operation. She broke onto the list at No. 7 with $13.1 million in compensation.

Ricks is one of the few women on either list. Cynthia Walker of Oxy, Ann Daly of DreamWorks Animation and M. Jayne Parker of Walt Disney Co. made the non-CEO list. Julia Stewart of DineEquity and Lisa Harper of Hot Topic made the CEO list.

While the expanded criteria made room for some new names on the list, it is still dominated by executives at the 50 largest L.A. public companies.

Oxy placed seven of its officers among the top 50 highest paid non-chief executives, while Amgen Inc. had six on the list.

The cumulative compensation of the 50 highest-paid non-CEOs in 2012 was $431 million, compared with $584 million in compensation for the 50 highest-paid chief executives.

Paul Hodgson, partner at BHJ Partners in Portland, Maine, said companies will often dole out similar pay packages to their No. 2 executives to show investors that they have confidence in that person should the chief executive suddenly depart the company.

Even so, three people dropped from this year’s list because they were promoted to chief executive, including Bryan Stockton, who received $8.8 million as chief operating officer of Mattel Inc. in 2011. He’s now the No. 8 highest-paid chief executive, bringing in $17.3 million as head of the El Segundo toy company.

Robert Bradway made $7.1 million as president and chief operating officer of Amgen in 2011 but nearly doubled his compensation to $13.6 million last year after he was promoted to chief executive and chairman.

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