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30 S&P 500 CEOs making $30 million a year or more

The Motley Fool Logo By Daniel B. Kline of The Motley Fool | Slide 1 of 31: These are the top earners

These are some of corporate America's top earners

To an average person, making $30 million or more seems as likely as growing an extra arm or learning how to fly. The highest-paid CEOs make amounts of money that regular people only dream about, but that does not mean they don't deserve it.

Some CEOs earn their pay by creating value for shareholders and employees. In other cases, of course, these top-earning bosses prove not to be worth their eight-figure salaries, and that gets them thrown out (usually with a generous exit package). 

"In 2017, CEO pay at S&P 500 Index companies increased 6.4% to a total of $13.94 million," according to the AFL-CIO, which compiled this list of top-paid CEOs. "In contrast, production and nonsupervisory workers received a paltry 2.6% raise, earning on average just $38,613 -- a CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 361 to 1."

CEOs -- at least the ones on this list -- are making bank. Whether that is deserved is up to shareholders and boards of directors to decide (and one of the highest-paid execs on this list has already been shown the door).  

Click here to see the top-paid CEOs from those "just" cracking $30 million to the top earner among S&P 500 company leaders.

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