A survey of chief executive compensation figures found that the median year-over-year percentage increase in pay was just short of 10 percent for 2006.

Corporate-governance watchdog the Corporate Library said that its preliminary survey of CEO compensation, covering more than 1,000 of the largest U.S. companies and based on recent proxy filings, revealed a median increase in total compensation of 9.29 percent for the 2006 fiscal year. The 2005 fiscal year saw an increase of nearly 16 percent.

“While the latest figure indicates that the pace of growth is moderating, this is like someone putting on the brakes for CEO pay,” said the report’s author Paul Hodgson, a senior research associate with the group, in a statement. “We haven’t stopped, and we’re certainly not in reverse. Even so, this is the first year we have seen possible single digit increases since 2002.”

Pay rises in S&P 500 companies were far higher than those for their peers in smaller companies, with the median increase topping 23 percent, and median total pay over $10 million, according to the preliminary data.

The highest chief executive compensation in 2006 went to Leslie Blodgett of Bare Escentuals Beauty Inc., a San Francisco cosmetics company, who received $118 million as she exercised company stock options, the study said.

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, has proposed legislation to let shareholders register disapproval of executive pay packages without the government directly regulating pay.

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