CEO Salaries Climb Above Pre-Recession Levels Average S&P company doling out $9M By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted May 6, 2011 1:27 PM CDT 11 comments Comments Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman: $84.5 million. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer) (Newser) – Did you know there was some kind of recession recently? You wouldn't, if you looked at CEO paychecks. CEOs were paid more last year than they were in 2007, when unemployment was at half what it is now and the stock market was at record highs, the AP reports. S&P 500 CEOs took home a median of $9 million, a 24% increase over 2009. Revenue, meanwhile, grew about 12%. Part of the reason for that is that stocks have almost doubled since March 2009, which has led to bigger-than-expected performance bonuses and killer returns on stock options granted in 2009. Six of the 10 highest paid CEOs came from media or entertainment companies, with Viacom boss Philippe Dauman the highest paid overall at $84.5 million.