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