The CEOs of Korea's 100 largest companies earned an average W1.67 billion last year (US$1=W1,052). According to business reports submitted to the Financial Supervisory Service on Tuesday, Samsung Electronics CEOs held the top three spots on the list.
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Yoon-woo was the top earner with W41.95 billion -- W5.99 billion in wages, W35.85 billion from the sales of his stock option shares and W110 million in dividend earnings.
Samsung Electronics top executive Choi Gee-sung came second with W18.02 billion, and the firm's president, Yoon Ju-hwa, was third with W7.11 billion. Choi raked in W11.92 billion by selling 20,434 stock options. The actual salaries of the three may be different from those given in the report, which are calculated based on the total salary of registered executives.
Samsung attributed the high incomes to the CEOs selling of the stock options they had been given in 2000 and 2001, which they sold as the options neared their expiry dates last year, at a time when the stock prices were high.
There was a huge income gap between the top three CEOs and the rest of the executives, who made an average W1.03 billion.