The stock market and economy may be struggling, but at least 21 CEOs of companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 were paid more than double...

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The stock market and economy may be struggling, but at least 21 CEOs of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 were paid more than double what they earned in 2006. Overall, the median pay was $8.4 million, about 3 percent more than in 2006.

Some CEOs — Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, James Cornelius of Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lynn Blodgett of Affiliated Computer Services, Joseph Campanelli of Sovereign Bancorp and Kevin Kabat of Fifth Third — gained big because they were new to the job or had just finished their first year in charge.

Others — such as Leslie Moonves of CBS, Bernard J. Duroc-Danner of Weatherford, Robert Skaggs Jr. of NiSource and Daniel Starks of St. Jude Medical — had one-time gains from stock options.

Still others simply earned more. Staples credited Ronald Sargent, who saw a 205.5 percent gain, for widening its lead over Office Depot and OfficeMax. Chase Carey’s pay gained more than 300 percent as DirecTV’s profit and subscribers rose. Yet both stocks lost money.

Such disconnects irk shareholder activists who want CEO pay to be “at risk,” or dependent on performance. High pay has even caught the attention of the presidential candidates and Congress.

Companies that doubled CEO pay cited higher profit or share prices. Alcoa noted Alain Belda’s “sustained performance and contribution to the company and its stakeholders in his nine years as CEO.”

Freeport-McMoran and its CEO, Richard Adkerson, also benefited from the commodities boom.

AP examined the available 2007 CEO pay data and used a formula that totals salary, perks, bonuses, above-market interest on pay set aside for later, and company estimates for the value of stock options and stock awards on the day they were granted last year.