CEO Bonus Pay Rises Despite Poor Performances (SLIDESHOW)

Several chief executives were handsomely paid last year even though their company performed terribly, the Wall Street Journal reports.

By most measures, 2008 was a terrible year for home builder Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. Its stock plunged 62%, revenue fell 31% and the company posted a $1.1 billion loss in the fiscal year ended Oct. 31.

Yet Hovnanian's board awarded Chief Executive Ara Hovnanian a bonus of $1.5 million in cash and stock. The reason: Mr. Hovnanian had helped the company stockpile cash, according to Hovnanian's Feb. 4 proxy statement.

Others that profited include Gary Dickerson, the head of Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, which posted an income of $98 million in 2008, a 31% drop, and saw its stock fall 53%. Still, Dickerson walked away with a $1.1 million bonus.

Other companies that paid million-dollar-plus bonuses despite weak results include stock-exchange operator NYSE Euronext Inc. and financial-index firm MSCI Inc. NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer got a $4 million bonus despite a net loss of $738 million and a stock decline of 69%. MSCI CEO Henry Fernandez received a $3 million annual incentive payment even though the company's share price fell 44% and net income declined 16%.

CEO Bonuses