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HR's Elite

What the 40 highest-paid HR executives listed in the Securities and Exchange Commission's filings earned in 2005.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006
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What the 40 highest-paid HR executives listed in the Securities and Exchange Commission's filings earned in 2005.

Dennis Donovan, executive vice president of HR for Home Depot Inc., earned the top spot for the fourth year in a row on Human Resource Executive® magazine's list of the highest-paid HR executives who are listed in Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Donovan earned roughly $178,000 more in 2005 than the year before, bringing his total compensation to roughly $6,568,000. He was followed by James R. Ellinghausen, senior vice president of HR for Pulte Homes Inc., who didn't make the top 40 list last year; and Craig E. Schneier, executive vice president of HR for Biogen Idec Inc., who held the No. 2 spot last year. The two earned roughly $5,849,000 and $5,694,000, respectively.

On their heels was Michael T. Theilmann, executive vice president and chief HR and administrative officer for JC Penney Co. ($5,056,000), who was followed by John D. Butler, executive vice president of administration and chief HR officer for Textron Inc. ($3,932,000).

Equilar Inc. of San Mateo, Calif., produces the ranking of the 40 highest-paid HR executives exclusively for HRE. In all, 173 HR executives were among the five most highly compensated officers in their companies and were, therefore, listed in the SEC filings of the Russell 3000 companies surveyed. Those included on this year's list earned a median value of $156.91 per employee, approximately $9 less than last year.

New to this year's ranking is a column showing the HR executive's total compensation as a percentage of the CEO's total package. Put side by side with their CEOs, HR executives earned a median of 27 percent, just slightly less than a year earlier. Of those in the top 40, Susan Bateson McKay, senior vice president of HR for Human Genome Sciences Inc., had the highest percentage, pulling in 66.5 percent more than her CEO. Mitchell A. Kosh, senior vice president of HR and legal for Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., had the lowest percent, with 7.4 percent of his CEO's package. The median HR salary was 41 percent of the CEOs'.

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Total compensation for HR executives on the list for the past two years climbed 7.4 percent from 2004 to 2005. John M. Holtrust, vice president of HR for Microsemi Corp., received the biggest increase -- 245 percent. The biggest decrease was experienced by Rhonda J. Parish, executive vice president, chief administration officer, chief HR officer, general counsel and secretary of Denny's Corp. Parish, not in the top 40 this year, was hit with an 83.4 percent decrease from a year earlier.

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