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Top bosses shared over €66m in monster pay packages last year

The biggest pay deals of 2011 were skewed by massive options trades and other paper gains on various conditional stock awards. The top executives shared just over €66m in pay last year -- an average of €6.6m each.

However, when the share-based elements of pay are stripped out, the chief executives of Ireland's biggest listed companies still earned basic deals worth well into the millions.

The top 10 basic packages -- made up of salary, bonus, pension and other benefits in kind -- were valued at €19.75m in 2011. This represented a massive 27 per cent increase on the previous year when the top 10 basic remuneration deals were valued at €15.51m. This vast pay hike -- at around 10 times the rate of inflation -- means that the top 10 bosses had a average income of €1.97m before shares were included.

Tullow's Aidan Heavey received €2.87m in salary, bonus and other benefits, giving him the highest core package in 2011. He pipped CRH's Myles Lee, who earned €2.69m as his basic remuneration.

Outside of the top 10 total remuneration pay deals, there were still some fortunes being made by Ireland's best-known businessmen.

Smurfit Kappa boss Gary McGann picked up €2.88m in 2011, according to the latest annual report for the cardboard and packaging company. This included a €617,000 bonus. McGann also received €136,500 as a non-executive director of United Drug and Aon Boland but these fees have not been included in our overall total. McGann was sitting on a paper gain of €346,000 on deferred annual bonus plan award scheme.

Kerry Group's Stan McCarthy picked up a pay deal worth close to €2.83m in 2011. The food giant boss had a deal worth €1.08m in salary, bonus and pension, but this was augmented by paper gains on almost 38,000 stock options awarded under the long-term incentive plan. These rose in value by just over €1.02m at the end of December 2011.

Glanbia's John Moloney had a remuneration deal worth close to €2.46m. His basic package touched €1.2m with shares vesting and options trading gains adding nearly €1.3m to the total. Kingspan's Gene Murtagh -- traditionally well-paid by the fast-growing insulation group -- earned €2.14m. His core earnings were slightly down at €1.39m but he received a conditional award of 125,000 shares.

DCC's Tommy Breen took a pay cut to €1.41m from €1.67m a year earlier. He was also awarded a big block of stock options -- however, these are currently worthless as the share price has fallen since they were awarded last year.

Ryanair's Michael O'Leary was paid €1.1m -- an increase on the €900,000 he received a year earlier. C&C's former boss John Dunsmore, who left the company late last year, earned €989,000.

New Grafton boss Gavin Slark earned €978,000 as well as a €259,000 share award. Bank of Ireland's Richie Boucher trousered €831,000 last year.

Last year, total earnings for executives at FTSE companies jumped 49 per cent to €3.3m, according to the research by Incomes Data Services, which analysed payouts of salaries, bonuses and long-term incentive plans. The figure was even bigger for chief executives, who received an average total pay deal of €4.65m -- up 43.5 per cent.

While the chief executives made the big money, their part-time chairmen also landed some pretty handsome packages.

CRH chairman Kieran McGowan earned a pay packet of €337,000 in 2011, down from the stonking €405,000 a year earlier -- former Dell boss Nicky Hartery is soon stepping into McGowan's shoes.

Smurfit Kappa's chairman Liam O'Mahony was given €300,000 according to the 2011 annual report. Paddy Power's Nigel Northridge was paid €200,000 last year. Greencore's Ned Sullivan earned €191,000.

Women were badly represented in the boardroom -- especially when it came to pay. CRH's finance chief Maeve Carton was given a package worth €1.05m in 2011. It was the first time that an Irishwoman of one of the big Irish plcs had earned over €1m in a pay deal. She became finance chief half way through the 2010 financial year, so her earnings that year were considerably smaller. She was paid just €489,000 in 2010.

Glanbia's group finance chief Siobhan Talbot earned €757,000 last year as well as seeing shares vest under a bonus scheme. Last year Greencore's UK executive Diane Walker picked up a €1.12m package. It dropped to €1.05m last year, according to the latest annual report.

Sunday Indo Business