Philadelphia (Feb. 2, 2004) -- Although U.S. executives still reign as the most highly compensated, their counterparts in Europe are slowly closing the gap when it comes to paychecks and bonuses, according to a study by The Hay Group, a global consulting firm.

The executive compensation survey of some 153 publicly traded companies and nearly 1,000 executives in Europe showed that total cash compensation, comprised of base salary and annual bonuses, between U.S. and Europe has begun to converge. As an example, the survey showed that among companies with sales of at least $35 billion, both Europeans and Americans at the chief executive level earned an average of $2.4 million in total cash compensation. The European survey data was measured against results from a compensation survey conducted among U.S. executives that encompassed 63 public companies and roughly 700 executives.

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