That Bear Stole My Picnic Basket

For some CEOs, the market plunge means a billion or two less in the wallet

It may be hard to feel sorry for chief executive officers who routinely earn seven-figure salaries and get such corporate perks as use of company jets, country club memberships, and private chefs. But make no mistake: Individual investors aren't the only ones who have been suffering during the recent bear market for stocks.

Superstar CEOs have lost millions of dollars—and some of them, even billions—since the market hit its peak in October. BusinessWeek.com asked Capital IQ, a financial information firm, to analyze just how much money blue-chip CEOs have lost in their own companies' stock. (Capital IQ, like BusinessWeek, is a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.)

What follows is a list of some of the business world's biggest losers, in terms of the overall amount. Figures were calculated from the market peak on Oct. 11, 2007, to closing prices on Feb. 4, 2008, using stockholding data from a company's latest annual SEC filing. These figures, therefore, do not reflect any stock transactions by insiders since the companies' filings.

Not unexpectedly, many of the big losers hail from the technology sector, where companies tend to reward their CEOs with healthy portions of stock options. But there are other well-known names in the mix. And while the size of their losses may make mere mortals blanch, you can be sure that none of these folks is headed for the poorhouse.

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