Executive Cash Compensation Climbs 28.7%

February 14, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The country's top executives are making an average of 28.7% more in cash compensation in 2007 than they did a year earlier, according to recent figures from the Executive Compensation Index.

The average company increased executive base pay by 1.69% over the past 12 months, but hiked bonuses by 42.1%, resulting in an overall increase in average total executive cash compensation of 28.7%, according to the index, which is released by the Economic Research Institute and the Wall Street Journal’s executive career guide. The figures are as of February 2007 compared to a year earlier.

The average base salary of the highest paid executives stands at $1,304,664 for February 2007, compared to February 2006 base salary levels of $1,283,002, and the average annual cash bonus is $3,668,324 compared to the prior year cash bonus levels of $2,580,139.

These two figures together mean that average total cash compensation stands at $4,972,988 compared to February 2006 total cash compensation of $3,863,141.

Since 1997, the first year of the index, total cash compensation has climbed 107.4% and corporate revenue has risen 121.1%.

The average dollar amount of base salary for the top executives increased 39.4% from 1997 to 2007, while annual dollar amount of bonuses increased 132.2%, demonstrating a trend toward keeping base salaries steady but boosting other types of compensation.

The index tracks the compensation at 45 randomly selected publicly traded companies.

To view the complete report on the February 2007 Executive Compensation Index, go here .