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Highest Paid Under 40
by Alyssa Abkowitz and Christopher Tkaczyk
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
provided by

Which young executives at public companies raked it in -- and how much did they earn?

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1. Matt Maddox

CFO & Treasurer
Wynn Resorts (WYNN)

Age: 34
2008 Total compensation*: $17.66 million

The house may always win, but Wynn Resorts' CFO is on a streak: Since joining the company in 2002 to head financial operations at the Wynn Resort in Macau, Maddox rose quickly up the corporate ladder and last year was promoted to CFO of the company.

Now he oversees the entire cash flow of Steve Wynn's casino and hotel empire. And he's become a high roller pay-wise too: With a base salary of $593,590, stock options worth more than $11 million, and stock awards worth more than $5 million, Maddox tops our list of highest-paid public company executives under age 40.

© News Corporation

2. James R. Murdoch

Chairman and CEO, Europe and Asia
News Corp. (NWSA)

Age: 36
2008 Total compensation*: $10.15 million

The second son of media titan Rupert Murdoch -- older brother Lachlan left his job at News Corp. in 2005 but still sits on the board -- James is the heir apparent to his father's $33 billion empire (and No. 3 on our 40 Under 40 list).

As the head of the company's publishing, television, and digital interests in Europe and Asia, he oversees News International (publisher of The Times and The Sun in London), SKY Italia, and Star TV, and serves as the non-executive chairman of British SKY Broadcasting.

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3. George L. "Mike" Mikan III

UnitedHealth Group (UNH)

Age: 37
2008 Total compensation*: $6.73 million

Since joining the health insurance giant in 1998, Mikan rose through the ranks to oversee the financials of its UnitedHealthcare and UnitedHealth Networks divisions, then was named CFO of the entire company in 2006 following the departure of former CEO William McGuire, who left the company amid a stock options scandal.

Mikan's healthy 2008 compensation includes a base salary of nearly $700,000, options grants of $2.7 million, and non-equity incentive pay of $1.75 million (talk about a public option). Mikan also sits on the board of Best Buy.

© W.R. Berkeley Corp.

4. W. Robert Berkeley, Jr.

EVP & Vice Chairman, Berkley International
W.R. Berkeley (WRB)

Age: 36
2008 Total compensation*: $6.63 million

It's all in the family for Robert Berkley, vice chairman of the $4.7 billion global underwriter of property and casualty insurance, and son of CEO and founder William R. Berkley.

Robert earned $3,868,500 worth of stock awards last year, as well as $1.8 million in non-equity incentive pay. Berkley shareholders did well too: The company, number 490 on the Fortune 500, was a top-performing stock last year with 4.9 percent in total shareholder return, thanks to volatile stock and debt markets.

© Atlas Energy

5. Jonathan Z. Cohen

Vice chairman, Atlas Energy Resources, Atlas Energy Management
Atlas Energy** (ATLS)

Age: 38
2008 Total compensation*: $4.29 million

Another family affair: With its holding company made up of various components -- Atlas Energy Resources, Atlas Pipeline Partners, and Atlas Pipeline Holdings -- the Pennsylvania-based Cohen family has made a profitable business with tax-advantaged investments in the oil and gas industry.

Jonathan Cohen, the son of CEO Edward E. Cohen, earned a hefty $4 million-plus at Atlas last year. That doesn't include his other jobs as CEO of his father's Resource Capital Corp., a separate commercial real estate investment trust based in New York and Philadelphia that trades on the NYSE, as well as hedge fund Castine Partners.

© Wellpoint

6. Wayne S. Deveydt

WellPoint (WLP)

Age: 39
2008 Total compensation*: $4.13 million

He could only compare favorably to his predecessor: Deveydt, who joined WellPoint in 2005, stepped in June 2007 to replace David Colby, WellPoint's disgraced CFO who left the company after lawsuits from former paramours alleged he romanced multiple women and made false promises of money and marriage.

Deveydt had timing on his side, too, stepping in during a period of record earnings at the insurer. Last year he collected a base salary of $648,769, with option and stock awards worth more than $3 million.

© Aon

7. Christa Davies

CFO & EVP, Global Finance
Aon (AOC)

Age: 38
2008 Total compensation*: $3.84 million

Davies is the highest-paid executive woman on our list; no wonder she's also among our "Ones to Watch."

Before joining insurance brokerage Aon in 2007 as head of global finance, Davies spent more than a decade at Microsoft, where she most recently oversaw financials of its most profitable sector, the platform and services division.

Those jobs are a world away from her college major: Davies studied aerospace engineering at the University of Queensland.

© Icahn Enterprises

8. Keith A. Meister

Principal Executive Officer & Vice Chairman
Icahn Enterprises (IEP)

Age: 36
2008 Total compensation*: $3.00 million

It can't be easy working for takeover king and activist investor Carl Icahn, so it's not surprising the pay's good.

At Icahn's holding company of diversified interests, Meister oversees gaming and real estate holdings. He's also a senior investment analyst at Icahn's High River Limited Partnership and is a director of the Icahn Fund. Prior to working for the billionaire, Meister co-founded an IT and software venture capital fund and worked in investment banking at Lazard Freres.

Source: Equilar Inc.

See more of the Highest Paid Under 40 executives
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2 Responses
  1. LittleLamb Says:

    I tau-kan...SAP developer (min 5 yrs experience) is getting paid RM24k a month . Company: Scope International..

    I think I never get that kind of pay until I retire man..

  2. wow...only 5 yrs experience, and getting paid RM24k per month? Are you serious? that is what we call Financial Freedom, hehehe...

    I believe he is a friend of yours :)