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CEO pay tops £2 million mark at FTSE 100 firms

Pay packages for the average CEO in the FTSE 100 cruised past the £2 million mark ($3.2 billion) in 2002, according to a survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

Of the median £2 million package, basic salary amounted to £600,000 with annual bonuses at £400,000; the remainder is made of £550,000 in long-term incentives and £450,000 in pensions.

But Mercer admits that executive pay figures are open to interpretation. "What's needed is a uniform approach to valuations so we can compare apples with apples," says Clare Turner, European principal at Mercers. "Shareholders, above all, need consistent and reliable information on which to base their assessments of executive pay awards."

Variations in the CEO pay package can be seen in different size companies. Long-term incentives - linked to performance related pay - vary from 45% of base salary for CEOs at lower quartile to 159% for those at upper quartile companies.

Industry variations have also emerged, with CEOs in the media and goods sector boasting annual packages of £2.7 million. Utilities, not including telecommunications, are lagging behind the rest with median pay packages of £1.2 million.

But these figures may soon fall when the UK's tax system changes in two years' time.

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