Last year was a good one for $31 billion Motorola Inc. and its shareholders, but an even better one for its CFO, David Devonshire. The communications equipment company rebounded from a string of lackluster years, with a 72% spike in 2004 net income on a 35% rise in revenues. Shareholders willing to hang on saw returns climb 24%, even before dividends were added in. As impressive as those numbers are, they pale compared to the 127% surge in the value of Devonshire's total compensation package, to $8.7 million for the year. Much of Devonshire's good fortune–more than half, in fact, according to the company's proxy–came down to Motorola's improved stock price, which traded around $8 at the time his 2003 grant was set, versus a price of more than $16 a year later, when he received only a slightly higher number of options.

Devonshire isn't the only CFO wearing a smile these days. The combination of strong overall profit growth and steady stock market gains helped send compensation racing higher in 2004. Total compensation–a composite mainly of salary, bonus, options and restricted shares–rose 7.3% last year, based on an analysis of 240 CFOs at S&P 500 companies that filed a proxy as of early April by Equilar Inc., the compensation research company.

Yet, it wasn't only paper-based gains that made the difference for most CFOs in 2004. The Equilar study found that salaries for the group climbed 8.7% while bonuses, which are usually tied to profit growth, surged 29%. Restricted stock was up 15.1%. Only the value of stock options was down, off 8.8% year- over-year based on Black-Scholes valuations, reflecting the trend at many companies toward smaller sized grants.

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