So much for reining in CEO salaries. New research has found that the top 200 CEOs of public companies with at least $1 billion in revenue had an average pay package of $15.1 million last year—a pay-raise of approximately 16% from 2011, the New York Times reports. The highest paid CEO for 2012 was Oracle's Larry Ellison, who raked in $96.2 million overall, while the highest paid woman was Yahoo's Marissa Mayer, with $36.6 million.
But are they earning their keep? It depends on the measuring stick, say compensation consultants. Most boards assess a company's performance both internally and against comparable businesses. But they don't typically factor in innovation or long-term success. And the CEOs often receive their stock and option grants at the beginning of the fiscal year, before shareholders know what their returns will be. "How much of the pay is driven by right time, right place, and how much is driven by truly sustained, multiyear performance that’s still in place 'X' years out?" says one pay consultant. "What I would like to see is not just performance criteria that are robust and meaningful, but also awards that are at risk for a meaningful period of time." (Read more CEO compensation stories.)