Petrello tops list of best-paid CEOs

Best paid: Nabors CEO Anthony Petrello tops list

Nabors Industries chief executive Anthony Petrello topped the list of best-paid bosses of publicly traded US companies in a year that saw median compensation packages for top dogs surge past $10 million.

Petrello made $68.3 million in 2013, bolstered by a $60 million lump sum cash-and-stock payment that came as part of a contract renegotiation. The total annual compensation was up 246% from 2012, according to study done by executive pay research firm Equilar and the Associated Press.

The only other oil and gas figure on the top 10 list was Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold chief executive Richard Adkerson, who landed in third place with an annual payment of $55.3 million, an increase of 294% from a year earlier.

Adkerson also benefited from a one-time payment of $36.7 million as part of a contract renegotiation.

Bosses of telecoms like Viacom and Comcast and media giants like CBS and Walt Disney made up the bulk of the top-10 list.

According to the study, which drew from regulatory filings from 337 companies with chief executives in place for at least two years, the median pay package for chief executives of US-listed companies was $10.5 million, up 8.8% from 2012.

It was the fourth straight year the median compensation figure has increased and has risen more than 50% over that period.

Rig contractor and services giant Nabors is known to compensate its chief executives well. Gene Isenberg, Petrello's late predecessor, routinely found himself on lists of best-compensated executives.

Early last year, Petrello and the Nabors board agreed to a new pay package that includes a $1.7 million base salary and allows for a bonus of up to twice that amount. It cuts the uncapped cash bonuses that were part of the previous agreement and a $50 million death or disability pay out, as well as his termination payment at about three times his total salary.

To calculate CEO pay, Equilar totaled salary, bonuses, perks, stock awards, stock option awards and other pay components.

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