Many executives continued to be paid extravagantly last year with little or no regard to corporate performance, according to a new report.

The report, “2010 Pay Dirt,” by governance analysis firm Glass Lewis & Co., acknowledged that average CEO pay in the S&P 500 declined in 2009. However, the report found that many companies continued to over-compensate their top executives, according to a pay-for-performance model developed by Glass Lewis. Some of the companies that the report identified as having the worst pay-for-performance scores for 2009 included Aetna, Chesapeake Energy, Micron Technology, XL Group and Yahoo. Sprint Nextel has appeared on Glass Lewis’s S&P 500 Overpaid 25 list for the third consecutive year.

Other companies linked pay and performance more appropriately, according to the report. Companies receiving the best pay-for-performance scores for 2009 included, Apple, Goldman Sachs, Sigma-Aldrich, and Southwestern Energy.

The report identified 34 executives who were awarded more than $25 million in annual compensation in 2009, with 16 taking in over $30 million, by Glass Lewis’s estimates. They included Gregory Maffei, president and CEO of Liberty Media Corp., who took home the highest total compensation in 2009: an estimated $188 million. Another top-paid CEO, Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle Corp. received approximately $61 million in annual compensation.

Non-CEOs who struck it big include Safra Catz, president of Oracle, who received approximately $42.1 million in total pay, and Stephen Burke, executive vice president and COO of Comcast Corp., who received approximately $31.4 million for the year. In all, 19 non-CEOs were each awarded more than $20 million in annual compensation in 2009.

The report also identified 20 directors who have served on the compensation committees at multiple companies that received a “D” or “F” in Glass Lewis’s pay-for-performance model. Two directors — David Nagel and William Cobb — have the distinction of serving on the compensation committees of three companies that received a “D” or “F” grade.

To request a copy of the report, visit

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