Median cash salaries and bonuses for chief executives of 200 big U.S. companies fell 8.5 percent in 2008 to $2.24 million, the Wall Street Journal said, citing an analysis prepared for it by Hay Group, a management consulting firm.

Including the value of stock, stock options and other long-term incentives, total direct compensation for the CEOs dropped 3.4 percent to a median of $7.56 million, the paper said.

The decline in total direct compensation was the first in seven years and only the second drop since the Journal began tracking CEO pay in 1989.

CEO compensation decreased more sharply at banks and brokerages, the paper said, adding that median annual cash compensation for CEOs in the financial industry fell 43 percent, to $976,000, while total direct compensation fell 14.2 percent, to a median $7.6 million.

The analysis examined proxy statements for companies with more than $5 billion in annual revenue, the paper said.

While median CEO salaries grew 4.5 percent, bonuses fell 10.9 percent as profits decreased by a median 5.8 percent, the paper said.

Equity grants, which account for roughly two-thirds of CEO compensation, changed little from 2007, the paper said.

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)