You've worked hard this year to ensure your salary and year-end bonus total the amount of money you deserve. But wait until you hear how much the nation's top CEOs are raking in - it's multiples of what you will most likely make in your lifetime. Though the majority of bonus numbers from S&P 500 companies won't be reported until later in 2011, we look at some corporate head honchos who are in the running for the fattest bonuses in 2010, and what they've done to earn them. (Make sure you assess whether a CEO has a stake in doing a good job for you, the shareholder. See Lifting the Lid On CEO Compensation.)
IN PICTURES: How To Make Your First $1 Million
1. Lloyd Blankfein, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Based on recent Goldman Sachs share prices, CEO Lloyd Blankfein's bonus is expected to jump significantly this year as the investment bank executives get their delayed payouts from previous fiscal years. In 2009, Blankfein's bonus - $9 million in stock options that couldn't be sold for five years - was shockingly underwhelming to some compared to the $68.5 million he pocketed in 2007.
2. William Johnson, Chairman and President, H.J. Heinz
The ketchup chief - a longtime employee who joined Heinz in 1982 - saw his bonus spike 17.6% in 2010 to $8.6 million. Through his tenure, Johnson has been credited with the company's expansion overseas, primarily in Asia, and under his watch, the Pennsylvania-based ketchup business has grown to over $10 billion in annual sales. In 2010, Heinz's net income also rose to $882.34 million, up 4.4% from last year.
3. Lawrence Ellison, CEO, Oracle
Oracle's czar Lawrence Ellison, who also co-founded the software empire, is in a prime spot for another record-breaking year. 2009's proxy filings revealed that Ellison took home the most pay as a CEO last year, including $6.1 million in cash compensation and $78.4 million in stock and options. Following Oracle's strong 2010 performance, it would not be surprising to see this bonus figure increased. In 2010, Oracles sales are $26.82 billion, up 15.34% and net income is $6.14 billion, up 9.69%. (Find out how to determine whether a CEO is being overpaid. Check out Evaluating Executive Compensation.)
4. Mark Parker, President and CEO, Nike
Though it isn't the heftiest bonus among the biggest-name CEOs, Parker's $4.4 million bonus surged a whopping 393%. Parker, who joined the company in 1979 as a footwear designer, has diversified and grown the sports retailer's umbrella of brands to encompass Cole Haan, Converse and Hurley International. While sales are up less than 1% to $19.01 billion this year, Nike's profits are soaring. For 2010, the company's net income is $1.91 billion, a jump of 28.25%.
5. Donnie Smith, President and CEO, Tyson Foods Inc.
In his first year as the czar of the food processing company, Smith pulled in a cash bonus of $3.8 million. Smith, who previously served as the senior group vice president of poultry and prepared food, received additional compensation, including a salary of $855,577, according to ABC News, and stock/options valued at around $4 million. However, the food giant had a big comeback year. Tyson returned to a profit in 2010 - a net income of $780 million compared to a net loss of $547 million in 2009 - after a tumultuous few years.
IN PICTURES: Retire A Millionaire In 10 Steps
CEO Bonuses Vs. Your Lifetime Compensation
It's likely that many top CEOs in the U.S. make annual bonuses greater than what the average American will earn over the course of their entire career. According to the report, "The Big Payoff: Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-Life Earnings," those with a college degree can expect to make $2.1 million over their lifetime. On average, those with a master's degree are projected to accumulate $2.5 in total lifetime paychecks while those only with a high school degree are likely to earn about half - $1.2 million. Many believe that top CEOs are overpaid, but the other side in this heated debate argues that the pay is warranted for the job - and that regulating pay will only jeopardize competition and transparency in the corporate world. (For additional related reading, refer to Evaluating The Board Of Directors.)
For the latest financial news, see Water Cooler Finance: Canadian Takeover And U.S. Tax Breaks.