#2: Aubrey McClendon
Company: Chesapeake Energy
Compensation: $16.9 million
Company Net Income: -$769 million
Stock Return: -24.1%
Aubrey McClendon is probably the most notable highly paid chief executive on this list — partially because of his seemingly inevitable downfall.
McClendon served as CEO of Chesapeake Energy (CHK) — the natural gas giant he co-founded — for two decades, and his lavish pay and perks was a common source of controversy between the chief and his shareholders. Last year, for example, he took home nearly $17 million, while the company lost 45 times that.
This story ends a little differently, though, because McClendon actually got the boot, more or less. He finally “stepped down” earlier this year following investigations about whether or not the CEO blurred the line between his personal finances and those of the company.
Of course, McClendon’s reign at Chesapeake came to an end, but the outsized pay didn’t. The former head honcho took home a golden parachute of $47 million.