Diversified U.S. manufacturer United Technologies Corp reduced the pay of its top two executives last year, but continued to pay bonuses to all its top officials as profit rose in a recessionary environment.

The world's largest maker of elevators and air conditioners awarded new chief executive Louis Chenevert compensation worth $18 million, 13.5 percent less than the $20.8 million he was paid the previous year as chief operating officer, according to a document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

Chairman George David, who handed over the CEO position to Chenevert on April 8, received pay worth $26.3 million, 31 percent less than the $38.1 million he received in 2007.

That came in a year the Hartford, Connecticut-based company's earnings rose 11 percent to $4.69 billion. United Tech shares last year fell about 30 percent, a less-steep drop than the 34 percent tumble of the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> and the 38 percent slide of the broad Standard & Poor's 500 index <.SPX>.

Fellow U.S. conglomerate General Electric Co said earlier this week that Chief Executive Jeff Immelt had asked to be paid no bonus, receiving compensation worth about 28 percent less for 2008, when earnings fell 22 percent.

Executive bonuses have come under fire this year, particularly at large banks that have received bailout money from the federal government. Across the economy, companies have been taking steps to cut their payroll expenses, with heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc laying off tens of thousands of workers and package-delivery company FedEx Corp cutting the pay of salaried workers.

The decline in Chenevert's and David's compensation reflects a reduction in the value of stock and option awards through the course of the year.

United Tech's Chenevert received a $3 million bonus, higher than the $2 million he received in 2007, but less than the $4 million that predecessor David got that year. The company reduced David's 2008 bonus to $2 million, saying that and a lower base salary reflected David's lighter responsibilities.

Both Chenevert and David's bonuses were higher than the company initially planned.

The ability to continue double-digit earnings growth in the 2008 environment, in combination with a smooth CEO transition and successful retention of key senior leaders, warranted an upward adjustment, the company's compensation committee said in the SEC filing.

(Editing by Andre Grenon)