New York (Aug. 8, 2002) - The annual salaries of CFOs at the nation's top companies took a southward turn this past year, as stock option values plummeted and non-cash perks dried up, according to an annual report by CFO.com.

The online companion to CFO magazine and Mercer Human Resource Consulting Group released their annual "CFO Compensation Special Report" Tuesday. The study analyzed 350 finance executives at the largest public companies.

Median total direct compensation for finance bigwigs last year was still an impressive $961,000, but those hoping to earn as much as their bosses may be waiting in vain. Over the past five years, median total CFO compensation has hovered at just 40 percent of chief executive pay, the study found.

The five highest paid CFOs at the companies studied were Michael Lehman at Sun Microsystems, Mike Swartz at Tyco International, Larry Carter at Cisco Systems, Anthony S. Thornley at Qualcomm, and James G. Stewart at Cigna.

To view the entire list, and a breakdown of their annual compensation, go to www.cfo.com/cfopay.

--Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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