Microsoft CEO is wealthiest company chief despite lower pay

PHOTO: Microsoft CEO is wealthiest company chief despite lower pay

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer has emerged the wealthiest chief executive among those heading the 30 largest publicly-listed US firms, a Wealth-X report has said.

According to the published list, Ballmer has an estimated fortune of US$17 billion (S$21.7 billion).

This is despite Ballmer being the lowest paid Dow Jones CEO in 2012, taking home just US$1.3 million in total compensation. In stark contrast, some of his peers earned up to US$40 million.

A list compiled by Wealth-X shows that Ballmer received a fiscal bonus of US$620,000, less than half the possible maximum bonus of US$1.37 million in 2012.

Last year, Microsoft cut executive salaries after it experienced slow growth in its online services division, and was also made to pay a US$732 million fine for failing to comply with European regulators.

The second wealthiest CEO is Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard. Whitman is the only female chief executive in the Wealth-X ranking.

Although her 2012 base salary was just US$1, Whitman took home more than US$15 million in compensation.

The former eBay chief was brought in to help turn the company around and has since joined other "dollar-a-year" tech executives such as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Larry Page and Oracle's Larry Ellison, who have all agreed to tie their compensations closely to company performance.

JP Morgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon, is the only banking executive to make the list at seventh position with a fortune estimated at US$340 million.

His pay packet was halved in 2012 to just under $19 million following a 'London whale' trading debacle in 2011 that triggered a US$6 billion loss at America's largest bank by assets.