U.S. real estate investment trusts paid out a whopping $192.3 million to the top 20 highest-paid CEOs in the industry last year, for an average of $9.6 million per executive, according to SNL Financial. That’s up from $104.7 million, or $5.2 million per CEO, in 2009.
While it’s true that REITs did well last year, CEO compensation far outpaced their companies’ performance — across the REIT sector, shareholders saw a return of 28.9 percent; the top 20 highest-paid REIT CEOs saw an average 83.6 percent pay increase.
Marc Holliday, CEO of New York-based SL Green Realty Trust, took home $24.8 million last year, making him the highest-paid REIT executive in the country and marking a 117.6 percent increase over his compensation during the year prior.
Holliday didn’t get the largest raise, though. That award went to David Simon, chairman and CEO of shopping mall REIT Simon Property Group, who took home a total of $24.6 million in 2010, up 430 percent over the $4.6 million he made in 2009. Simon’s earnings came in the form of a $4 million bonus and $19.5 million in stock and options.
The numbers drop off substantially from there, though the rest of the CEOs are not exactly paupers. Third-highest-paid CEO Mike Fascitelli, of Vornado Realty Trust, got a 90 percent raise last year, taking home $9.94 million in total compensation. [SNL Financial]