New York (April 10, 2003) - Average pay for chief financial officers at leading U.S. companies fell 1 percent in 2002 to $3.26 million, with declines all around except long-term incentives and the value of stock option grants, according to an annual survey.

Long-term incentives showed the most growth, rising 4 percent to $511,000, while the value of stock options was up 2 percent to $1.7 million, representing 53 percent of the total package, according to the survey of 63 companies by executive compensation consultants Pearl Meyer & Partners. Average salary fell 3 percent to $532,000. Annual incentives declined 12 percent to $477,000. The survey, conducted during the third quarter, relied on 2001 bonus figures because 2002 payouts were not yet available.

“The CFO position has been catapulted into the spotlight during the past 18 months as a result of many high-profile accounting discrepancies,” noted Steven E. Hall, President of Pearl Meyer & Partners. “Although pay leveled off in 2002, going forward, top-notch CFOs will be highly sought by large companies both for management positions and as ideally qualified candidates for service on the audit committees of corporate boards.”

Other senior financial executives saw pay gains ranging from 3 to 9 percent. Top audit executives saw the biggest gain, with an average increase of 9 percent to $576,000. Average 2002 controller pay grew 5 percent to $1.0 million, while treasurer pay packages grew 3 percent to $963,000. Average total remuneration for the top tax executive expanded by 3 percent to $799,000.

-- WebCPA Staff

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