Anthony Alexander, president and chief executive of Akron-based utility FirstEnergy Corp., received compensation of $12.8 million in 2008, a 4 percent increase from 2007.
Alexander's salary rose 4 percent to $1.3 million while his performance-based bonus fell nearly 4 percent to $2.3 million, according to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The FirstEnergy board of directors use a benchmark system to measure the utility's executive pay against company peers, said spokeswoman Tricia Ingraham.
The other four highest-compensated company officers saw a variety of pay raises and pay cuts.
• Richard H. Marsh, senior vice president and chief financial officer: $2,698,718, a pay cut of nearly 4 percent from $2,799,937 in 2007. The reduction is because Marsh chose not to participate in a deferred compensation program in 2008, Ingraham said.
• Gary Leidich, who in 2008 was promoted from senior vice president of operations to executive vice president of FirstEnergy Corp. and president of FirstEnergy Generation: $5,839,308, a 50 percent pay increase from $3,876,762 in 2007. Leidich received a substantial salary increase when he was promoted, Ingraham said.
• Richard R. Grigg, executive vice president and president of FirstEnergy Utilities: $5,166,677, a 12 percent increase from $4,624,647 in 2007. Grigg was promoted in 2008 from executive vice president and chief operating officer.
• Leila L. Vespoli, executive vice president and general counsel: $3,300,232. Vespoli, who received a promotion from senior vice president and general counsel, was not among the top five paid executives in 2007, so her compensation was not included in last year's proxy statement.
Alexander's salary is significantly higher than the other executives because of his position and ''the board's strong desire to keep him with our company,'' Ingraham said.
Alexander received stock awards valued at $9 million when they were given last March and April, up 5.6 percent from similar awards he was given in 2007, according to the filing.
FirstEnergy common stock was at nearly $70 at the time of the awards. It closed Wednesday at $38.76, having lost nearly half its value.
Alexander received perks valued at $122,780, including $93,491 for the personal use of corporate aircraft. For security reasons, FirstEnergy's board requires Alexander to use corporate aircraft when he travels. He also received $97,012 in above-average returns on deferred compensation.
Last month, FirstEnergy said it would be cutting 335 people from its management and support staff as part of a reorganization as it dealt with the global economic downturn.
In addition, as part of the reorganization, another 257 employees companywide were given new assignments that would not change their location or compensation. Those employees, if they did not want their new assignment, could leave the company, but would not be eligible for the severance package, officials said.
Ingraham said the proxy statement reflected executive salaries in 2008, and the company began taking action in November of last year to adjust for the economic conditions. Also, for this year, all employees, including the top five paid executives, are maintaining their base salaries. The company said it has placed more emphasis on reaching financial objectives before further bonuses are made.
In 2008, FirstEnergy reported profit of $1.34 billion, or $4.38 per share, compared with profit of $1.31 billion, or $4.22 per share, in 2007. Revenue rose to $13.6 billion from $12.8 billion.
The company's power plants produced a record 82.4 million megawatt-hours of electricity in 2008.
FirstEnergy is the nation's fifth largest investor-owned electric system, serving 4.5 million customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.