Oracle's Larry Ellison Is Highest-Paid CEO of Decade

top paid CEOs
top paid CEOs

Larry Ellison (pictured) of Oracle (ORCL) tops The Wall Street Journal's new list of the 25 highest-paid CEOs of the last decade. Ellison's total compensation over the last 10 years, including salary, bonus, stock and stock option grants, was $1.84 billion.

Barry Diller of IAC/InterActive (IACI), a much smaller and less successful company than Oracle, made $1.14 billion during that time, putting him in second place. He's also chairman of Expedia (EXPE).

Occidental Petroleum (OXY) CEO Ray Irani made $857 million; Apple's (AAPL) Steve Jobs followed with $749 million; and Capital One Financial's (COF) Richard Fairbank made $569 million.

Was each CEO worth it? Making an argument against Ellison or Jobs is hard. Oracle, like many tech companies, got caught up in the Nasdaq boom of 1999 and 2000, and its stock ballooned. Since May 2002, when it traded under $7, it has moved to nearly $25. During the same period, Apple has gone from under $8 to $260 -- making Jobs a bargain CEO. Occidental stock has surged from $14 to $83 in the same time frame. Capital One, however, is down from $60 to $41, and IACI has dropped from $100 in early 2002 to $24.

The list has some odd names on it. Angelo Mozilo, former CEO of subprime lender Countrywide, is sixth on the list with a total compensation of $528 million. Based on lawsuits against Countrywide, he may have to give some of that back. His firm is no longer independent, having been sold to Bank of America (BAC) in a fire sale. Terry Semel, the ousted CEO of Yahoo (YHOO), is eighth on the list with a total comp of $490 million.