Cha-Ching! CEO Bonuses Gain Most in 3 Years

Worried about unemployment? Stocks still below prices from 2007? Boo-hoo. We should’ve been Chief Executive Officers at major corporations.

CEO bonuses are back! In fact, they are up a median 30.5% over last year — bringing them to the highest level since before the economic crisis.

The WSJ reports Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) Robert Iger earned $13.5 million for the year, 45.4 percent more than last year. Disney’s stock did return shareholders 24 percent last year.

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz earned $3.5 million — the largest bonus ever. Other CEOs such as Jabil Circuit’s (NYSE:JBL) Timothy Main also took record bonuses (Main got $2.9 million) but their shareholders lost money. That throws a monkey wrench into proper incentives for a healthy capitalist enterprise.

More properly, General Electric (NYSE:GE) CEO Jeffrey Immelt received a $4 million cash bonus for 2010 after skipping payments the previous two years, when profit dropped.

However, not all was fairies and unicorns for corporate America’s top generals.

Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE:WHR) CEO Jeff M. Fettig saw his cash bonus crash 49% to ~$1.8 million — down from $3.5 million in 2009. Ironically, Whirlpool earnings rose 89% to $619 million.

Another loser was Monsanto Co.’s (NYSE:MON) CEO Hugh Grant. He didn’t make any money because the agricultural giant “missed key financial goals” — that’s a lot less than his fiscal 2009 bonus of $1.1 million.