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Who the highest paid CEO is and how we crunched the numbers

By Ely Portillo
elyportillo@charlotteobsever.com

Highest and lowest CEO pay

The highest-paid North Carolina CEO in 2012 was Steven Tanger, head of Greensboro-based Tanger Factory Outlet Centers. His $12.6 million pay package was more than double what he received in 2011, bolstered by a $9.9 million stock grant tied to performance conditions.

The lowest-paid CEO (who was employed for the full year) was Mark Kehaya, the interim chief executive of Morrisville-based tobacco company Alliance One International. His annual compensation totaled $544,500, and consisted of only salary, with no stock, options, bonuses or perks.

The CEO with the sharpest percentage drop in pay was Robert Toth, head of Charlotte-based Polypore International. His pay fell 95 percent from 2012, to $778,476. A multiyear option award of $13.5 million he received in 2011 accounted for the drop.

The CEO with the largest percentage rise in pay was Raleigh-based Xerium Techologies’ Stephen Light. He retired in 2012, and his pay rose 249 percent, to $3.4 million.

How we crunched the numbers

The Observer counts salary, bonuses, perks, above-market interest on deferred pay and the value of equity awards when calculating total compensation. In keeping with Securities and Exchange Commission rules, equity awards represent the value of the package when it’s awarded; the actual amount the executive collects will vary depending on when the equity awards vest and how the company performs.

Several prominent firms in North Carolina’s top 50 have been bought by other companies since the Observer’s last annual CEO pay survey, taking them off the list. Progress Energy merged with Duke Energy, Sealy Corp. was acquired by Tempur-Pedic, and Goodrich Corp. was acquired by United Technologies Corp. Raleigh-based Dex One merged with a directory publisher in Texas and moved its combined headquarters there. Joining the top 50: Mattress and upholstery producer Culp Inc., Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Swisher Hygiene and First Bancorp.

All year-to-year comparisons reflect pay at this year’s top 50 companies compared with those companies’ pay for previous years.

More than 50 executives are listed because some companies had more than one CEO during the year. One executive, Bruton Smith, ran two companies.

To see the original documents, go online to the SEC website at http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html. You can search for a company’s proxy statement, called a DEF 14A, where executive compensation is disclosed.

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