The largest companies, those typically under the most scrutiny, have experienced the biggest increases in CEO compensation. In 2010, S&P 500 CEOs' total realized compensation increased by a median of 36.5 percent, according to GMI's 2011 CEO pay survey.

"The 36.5 percent increase in realized compensation is particularly notable when it's put in context of the modest growth of the economy in 2010 and general public company performance last year," said Paul Hodgson, chief communications officer and senior research associate at GMI, in a statement.

According to the report, the overall practice of paying perks held steady. The award of personal jet use remains a nonstandard practice, with 155 companies disclosing this expense, two fewer than in 2009. About 13 percent of S&P CEOs received a home security benefit, but the average membership fee paid for CEOs was reduced dramatically from $1,512 to just $552 in 2010, with the highest payout reaching $30,042 --  for Federated Investors Inc. (FII) CEO J. Christopher Donahue.

Top 10 Highest-Paid CEOs of 2010

Three of the 10 highest-paid CEOs of 2010 are from the Health Care Providers & Services industry, including the top two positions on the list. Real Estate Investment Trusts were also represented twice among the year's top earners. Departing CEOs covered 40 percent of the top 10 list, profiting from large exit packages required by employment agreements.

Here's a list of the top earners based on the GMI survey results:

1.      McKesson Corp. (MCK): John Hammergren -- $145,266,971

(Health Care Providers & Services)

2.      Omnicare Inc. (OCR): Joel Gemunder -- $98,283,242

(Health Care Providers & Services)

3.      TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (TRW): John Plant -- $76,841,646

(Auto Components)

4.      Verisk Analytics Inc. (VRSK): Frank Coyne -- $69,416,726

(Professional Services)

5.      CVS Caremark Corp. (CVS): Thomas Ryan -- $68,079,823

(Food & Staples Retailing)

6.      General Growth Properties Inc. (GGP): Adam Metz -- $66,707,460

(Real Estate Investment Trusts)

7.      Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. (RL): Ralph Lauren -- $66,651,515

(Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods)

8.      Vornado Realty Trust (VNO): Michael Fascitelli -- $64,402,468

(Real Estate Investment Trusts)

9.      Aetna Inc. (AET): Ronald Williams -- $57,787,786

(Health Care Providers & Services)

10.  GAMCO Investors Inc. (GBL): Mario Gabelli -- $56,608,736

(Capital Markets)