Jobs takes top CEO pay spot, makes $646M

Steve Jobs’ $1 salary was dwarfed by $646 million in stock compensation for 2006, Forbes magazine said Friday, ranking the Apple CEO as the highest-paid executive in the U.S.

In its annual CEO paycheck scorecard of America’s 500 biggest companies, Forbes said the $646.6 million for Jobs was more than twice the compensation of the next person on the list: Ray Irani of Occidental Petroleum, who took home $321.6 million — the bulk of it from exercised stock options.

The next-highest-paid CEO in the technology field after Jobs was Terry Semel of Yahoo, who ranked fifth. Semel pulled in $174.2 million, all but $600,000 in realized options. Michael Dell, the newly-returned CEO of Dell, followed at sixth. The 42-year-old made $153.2 million, small potatoes to a man who owns company stock worth nearly $5.4 billion.

Rounding out the top 25, Larry Ellison of Oracle collected $72.4 million in 2006 to make the 12th spot on the Forbes list, while John Chambers of Cisco Systems received $71.3 million for No. 15.

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, was a compensation pauper in comparison; he took home $980,000 for the year to place at a lowly 481.

Other technology CEOs of note on the list include Mark Hurd of Hewlett-Packard ($20.3 million, No. 80), Samuel Palmisano of IBM ($17.6 million No. 104), Margaret Whitman of eBay ($3.1 million, No. 376), Jonathan Schwartz of Sun Microsystems ($1.5 million, No. 461), and Eric Schmidt of Google ($560,000, No. 488).

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