Philippe Dauman, the boss of the media giant Viacom, was the highest-paid chief executive in the US last year, with a compensation package worth $84.3m (£51m), according to the definitive survey of companies' regulatory filings.
The scale of Mr Dauman's remuneration eclipsed the next best-paid chief executive – Larry Ellison, founder of the software group Oracle – by more than 20 per cent, and was more than double the amount he took home in 2009. Viacom's board granted him $54.3m in one-time equity awards last April, when he signed a new five-year contract.
Shares in Viacom, whose divisions include MTV and the Paramount Pictures movie studio, outperformed the rest of the market last year, as advertising rebounded.
Sumner Redstone, the octogenarian media mogul whose National Amusements group controls Viacom, has emerged as one of the most generous payers in corporate America. Mr Redstone also controls CBS, whose businesses include the television network of the same name and the publisher Simon & Schuster, where its chief executive Leslie Moonves came third in the survey. His package of $53.9m included a $27.5m bonus that CBS said reflected a "remarkable year under his leadership".
The pay survey, conducted by the consultants Hay Group for The Wall Street Journal, examined regulatory filings from the 350 largest US public companies. The median pay for chief executives – adding together salary, bonus and long-term incentive grants – jumped 11 per cent last year, after a flat year in 2009. That compares with a 17 per cent increase in net earnings at the average firm, and an 18 per cent rise in dividends.
Martin Franklin of the consumer products group Jarden and Michael White of DirecTV, the satellite broadcaster that has just taken over the Blockbuster DVD chain, rounded out the top five, with pay deals of $45.2m and $35.6m respectively.
Media continued to be one of the most lucrative industries for chief executives. Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner was paid $26m and Bob Iger of Disney was paid $27.2m last year, both making the top 10.