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The highest-paid CEOs of the past decade

The Wall Street Journal has a list of the top-paid CEOs of the past decade, and there's a local name rounding out the top five, just after Steve Jobs: Richard Fairbank, chief executive of McLean, Va.-based Capital One. According to the Journal, Fairbank received $569 million in pay.

Most interesting: Of the four executives in the top 25 at financial companies, Fairbank is the only one still running his company. Not only that, the other three watched the companies they built actually fall apart or come close. There's Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers, Sandy Weill of Citigroup and Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide.

By contrast, Capital One is rebounding smoothly. The company reported a $636 million profit in the first quarter, compared to losing $172 million a year ago.

The Journal reports that Fairbank hasn't been paid a salary or bonus since 1997, instead being rewarded with stock options -- and Capital One's shares rose eightfold from 1995 to 2005.

Capital One was also one of the 17 banks called out by "pay czar" Ken Feinberg last week for overpaying executives while accepting taxpayer bailout funds during the height of the financial crisis. The report didn't go into detail about which executives were being overpaid at Capital One, but Feinberg surely took a long, hard look at Fairbank's pay package. Whatever he found at Capital One, Feinberg concluded that the pay wasn't illegal but that it was "ill-advised."

At the time of this post, Capital One did not have a comment.

By Jia Lynn Yang  |  July 27, 2010; 6:10 PM ET
Categories:  Capital One , Executive compensation  
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