Of the 43 CEOs who sold stock last year, the biggest exerciser, appropriately enough, was Bahram Akradi, founder and CEO of Life Time Fitness, the chain of health clubs that went public in June 2004. Akradi benched $37.4 million in gains on his way to a $41.3 million payday.
Target's Bob Ulrich redeemed $34.9 million in the retailer's shares -- enough to make him No. 1 on our overall list with total pay of $45 million. Polaris CEO Tom Tiller zoomed into third place overall, with $29.4 million worth of options and total pay of $33.4 million.
Actual cash compensation grew briskly, too. Median salary-plus-bonus for the 100 highest-paid Minnesota CEOs jumped nearly 17 percent to $775,883.
That compares with a salary-and-bonus dip last year of about 2.5 percent, the Wall Street Journal found in its April survey of 350 chief executives.
Among Minnesota CEOs in 2005, UnitedHealth's McGuire pulled down the biggest salary ($2.2 million) while Target CEO Ulrich's $1.558 million placed second.
But Ulrich got the biggest bonus: $6.5 million. McGuire came next at $5.8 million. Two financial-services executives-- Jerry Grundhofer at U.S. Bancorp and James Cracchiolo of Ameriprise -- tied for third place in the bonus derby at $5 million each.
Overall, 81 of the 100 CEOs got year-over-year salary increases; 13 got the same amount in both years.
In the bonus department, nine out of every 10 CEOs got a bonus last year. Of those, 50 got bigger bonuses in 2005 than 2004 while 31 saw their bonuses trimmed. Ten CEOs didn't get a bonus in 2005, among them Doug Steenland at struggling Northwest Airlines.
In 2002, a bear year for most stocks, "other" kinds of compensation totaled $43 million for Minnesota's 100 highest-paid CEOs. "Other" included restricted stock awards, payouts for meeting long-term goals, 401(k) contributions, payments to supplemental executive retirement plans, life insurance and other perks.
After dipping to $38.4 million for the group in 2003, this pay category rebounded to $48 million in 2004, then doubled to $99 million in 2005. Put another way, "other compensation" accounted for 22 cents of every dollar in CEO pay last year.
Of that, $70 million came from grants of restricted stock -- a fourfold increase in such grants compared with 2003.
3M's new CEO, George Buckley, was attracted from Brunswick Corp. in late 2005 in part with $16 million in 3M restricted shares. William Cooper, longtime CEO of TCF Financial, got $8.6 million in restricted stock to remain as chairman after retiring as CEO in January.
In all, 39 Minnesota CEOs got restricted stock last year, up from 26 in 2004. Of those, 18 got grants of $1 million or more.
Five female CEOs made our 2005 list, one fewer than last year. Janet Dolan, the retiring CEO of Tennant Co., ranked highest at No. 41.
Sally Smith, president and CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings, ranked No. 58. Susan Engel of Lenox Group Inc. (formerly Department 56) was No. 57. Marti Morfitt of CNS ranked 62nd. Karen Gilles Larson, president and CEO of Synovis Life Technologies, was 91st.