Steve Jobs of Apple Inc was the top-paid US chief executive last year, receiving some US$646 million, Forbes magazine said.
Even though Jobs was paid a nominal US$1 salary, the value of his stock options and other benefits made him the highest compensated CEO, the magazine said.
Forbes, in releasing its survey late on Thursday, said the CEOs of the US' 500 biggest companies got a collective 38 percent pay raise last year, to US$7.5 billion, or an average US$15.2 million.
Exercised stock options accounted for the main component of pay, or about 48 percent, Forbes said.
No. 2 on the list was Occidental Petroleum's Ray Irani with US$321.6 million, followed by Barry Diller at InterActive Corp (US$295 million), Fidelity National's William Foley (US$179 million) and Terry Semel of Yahoo Inc (US$174 million).
Michael Dell, who retook the reins at Dell Inc, was sixth with a compensation package worth US$153 million.
With an outcry growing over extravagant pay packages for US corporate executives, Forbes said that the highest-paid CEOs were not always those that delivered the most to shareholders.
Forbes said by its analysis, Apple's Jobs was 36th.
Topping the list was John Bucksbaum of General Growth Properties, a real-estate investment trust. Over the course of the past six years, Bucksbaum was paid US$723,000 a year while delivering a 39 percent annual return to shareholders.
Steve Jobs (Apple Inc): US$646 million.
Ray Irani (Occidental Petroleum): US$321.6 million.
Barry Diller (InterActive Corp): US$295 million.
William Foley (Fidelity National): US$179 million.
Terry Semel (Yahoo Inc): US$174 million.
Michael Dell (Dell Inc): US$153 million.
Source: `Forbes' magazine
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