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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 30, 2006 at 9:21 AM

CEO pay at startups is looking up

Chief executives at U.S. companies backed by venture capital are getting paid $10,000 more a year in total compensation than they did a year ago, according to a survey published today by VentureOne, a unit of Dow Jones Newswires.

The survey, which looked at more than 700 executives at U.S. venture-backed companies, found that CEOs’ median compensation was $263,000, compared with $252,000 a year ago. Part of that package was larger bonuses — CEOs reported a median $50,000 this year compared to $40,000 a year ago.

The CEOs also have bigger stakes in the companies. This year, they said they owned a median of 5 percent, last year, it was 4.92 percent, and in 2004 they owned only 4.6 percent.

On average, however, executives in the Northwest are paid less. The survey found that executives here were paid a base salary of $200,000, a bonus of $41,000 and owned only 4.2 percent of the company. Total compensation was $250,000.

Here’s the justification for the increase year-over-year: “The job is also requiring more from them as they lead their companies through more challenging investment climates, including longer periods of time between financings with requirements to hit significant milestones and a U.S. IPO market that remains constrained for exits,” said Stephen Harmston, director of global research for VentureOne.

The justification for Northwest executives getting paid less? Sorry, no word just yet. See your venture capitalist.

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