Every year, Forbes magazine publishes a list of the top 800 chief executives in the United States, and examines how these men and women are compensated, taking into account not only their basic salary, but also factors such as bonuses, and the proceeds of exercised stock options. While Bill Gates took home a measly $2.1m in salary over the 1992-1996 time-frame, his $28bn worth of Microsoft stock makes him by far the wealthiest executive in the US. By contrast, Larry Ellison owns just $5.5bn of Oracle stock, but took home a hefty $39m paycheck for the same five-year period. Last year’s highest paid executive was Andy Grove of Intel, who exercised his stock options to the tune of $95m. Second comes Theodore Wait of Gateway 2000 Inc, with a 1996 compensation of $81.3m, followed by Daniel Smith of Cascade Communications Corp ($35.6m), Casey Cowell of US Robotics Corp ($34m), John Chambers of Cisco Systems Inc ($33.2m), Eckhard Pfeiffer of Compaq Computer Corp ($29m), Stephen Case of America Online Inc ($27.6m), Charles Wang of Computer Associates Inc ($26.3m), Stephen Walske of Parametric Technology Corp ($20.7m) and Larry Ellison in tenth place at $19.1m.
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