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Originally published November 8, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified November 8, 2007 at 2:02 AM

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Corporations pay female directors more, study finds

Women corporate directors, outnumbered by men 8-to-1 on company boards, earned about 15 percent more than their male counterparts, a new...

Bloomberg News

Women corporate directors, outnumbered by men 8-to-1 on company boards, earned about 15 percent more than their male counterparts, a new study about compensation trends concluded.

Overall, corporate-board directors' pay increased 12 percent this year, reaching a median of $100,000, according to a report released Wednesday by the research firm Corporate Library.

The finding that women directors make more than men is "most certainly surprising," report author Paul Hodgson said. Besides nursing, "It has to be the only area of the U.S. economy where this is the case."

The pay increase was linked to new rules on executive-compensation disclosure, the report said. The Securities and Exchange Commission last year ordered companies to provide more information about pay for their top executives and directors. The regulations are designed to help shareholders compare practices among publicly traded companies.

Because far fewer women hold board positions, companies may be putting them on more committees, adding to their pay, Hodgson said. The Corporate Library hasn't formally studied the reasons behind the trend, he said.

All of the 25 highest-paid U.S. board members were men, according to the report. The best-compensated director was William Greehey, who was paid $28.5 million in 2006 as chairman of Valero Energy, the largest U.S. refiner.

"Most of the compensation was deferred" from when Greehey was chief executive officer of Valero, company spokesman Bill Day said. Greehey was CEO of Valero until he retired at the end of 2005.

The study took compensation information on more than 25,000 directors from July 2005 to July 2007 and compared the data between the two 12-month periods.

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