Lynn Elsenhans, 53
Sunoco Inc., Philadelphia
Total 2009 Pay: $1,492,945
At a 2010 conference on women in leadership, Elsenhans conceded that she had previously declined invitations to speak about being a woman in a male-dominated industry, but that she realized "maybe this is something I should talk about." In 2008, Sunoco's board made the Harvard M.B.A. the company's first female CEO. "Don't use gender as an excuse," Elsenhans told her audience. "The absolute best prescription I can come up with is: perform, perform, perform. Deliver on your commitments, exceed expectations, be results-oriented vs. effort-oriented, and prove the stereotypes wrong."
Biggest Raise: 821 percent
Glen Senk, 53
Urban Outfitters Inc., Philadelphia
Total 2009 Pay: $29,944,180
Senk is a lifelong show-horse rider who competes at a championship level. At the reins of Urban Outfitters, he has kept things jumping during a down economy. The company's profit and revenue rose in 2009, and its share price more than doubled (Senk's 2009 compensation is mostly a massive equity bonus). Urban Outfitters founder Richard Hayne hired him to run the company's Anthropologie stores in 1994. He took the helm at Urban Outfitters in 2007, continuing to keep the company's stores hip and unique.
Andrew B. Cogan, 47
Knoll Inc., East Greenville, Pa.
Total 2009 Pay: $1,822,288 (down 76 percent)
If Knoll CEO Andrew Cogan wants to make headlines these days only for his company's furniture designs and quarterly performance, that's understandable. Cogan is the son of Wall Street financier Marshall Cogan, who owned New York's 21 Club. A 1990 New York Times article, about a lavish apartment overlooking Central Park that Andrew Cogan had designed for himself at age 27, noted that he bought his first Eames chair at age 15. These days, Cogan focuses on Knoll's stylish office furniture and its numbers, which were down in 2009 (profit fell nearly 70 percent) – not surprising, as many companies cut personnel.
Robert Rosenkranz, 67
Delphi Financial Group Inc., Wilmington
Total 2009 Pay: $2,393,125 (down 51 percent)
Delphi sells workers' compensation and group life insurance to midsize employers. It sounds as dull as cardboard - but Rosenkranz isn't. He's sponsor and ringmaster of a New York-based series of debates called Intelligence Squared. Rosenkranz speaks up, too, when it comes to insurance reform. In an essay for Newsweek this year, he wrote: "The villain here is not the insurance companies; it's the toxic brew of misguided regulatory policies that prevent health insurers from acting the way companies in any other business model do." The essay's title: "It's Not My Fault."
Robert Toll, 69
Toll Bros. Inc., Horsham
Total 2009 Pay: $5,037,910 (down 43 percent)
Observers may have gawked at Toll's McMansion-size pay packages over the years, but few who chat with him can muster hard feelings. Toll is known for his candor and humor, joking even as his core business got tough. During conference calls in late 2007, when housing markets nationwide were dying, Toll found that his traditional letter-grading system (giving San Antonio an F, for example) was insufficient; he added an F-minus and an F-minus-minus. "Bob Toll is probably the most forthright CEO of a public home builder I've ever met," wrote CNBC real estate reporter Diana Olick. In the spring, Toll stepped down as CEO (he'll become executive chairman).
They Do What?
Michael Rubin, 37
GSI Commerce Inc., King of Prussia
Total 2009 Pay: $2,354,603
"Since the age of 12, business has been my first priority," Rubin said this year on the CBS show Undercover Boss, where he posed as an entry-level employee in his own company. His wife, Meegan, added: "Michael as a husband and Michael as a businessman are one and the same." GSI runs online sales for retailers such as Aeropostale and RadioShack and for organizations including the National Football League and Major-League Baseball, handling everything from websites and call centers to packing and shipping. It's a hectic, 24/7 operation, and Rubin has the temperament for it.
William V. Carey, 45
Central European Distribution Corp., Bala Cynwyd
Total 2009 Pay: $2,203,080
Carey built CEDC - a huge distributor of vodka and other spirits with business mostly in Poland - through sheer force of will. After graduating from the University of Florida in 1988 with a degree in economics, Carey tried being a golf pro for a while, then agreed to fly to Poland to help his father's business exporting cattle. That failed, but Carey decided to stay and import beer, then wine and spirits. "In the U.S., I was always Bill's son," Carey said in 2004. "Here, I could create my own road to success." He did. By 1998, he was taking his new company public and working to corner the Polish vodka market. Now, the company is pushing into Russia and exporting Polish vodka to the west.
Richard C. Ill, 67
Triumph Group Inc., Wayne
Total 2009 pay: $1,917,524
Ill, a Drexel M.B.A., formed Triumph in 1993 as an entrepreneurial spin-off of a large corporation, and even with his holding company's now controlling more than 40 diverse aerospace-equipment-makers globally, Ill has maintained an entrepreneurial drive. Each company Triumph acquires remains independent, with its own name and management, ideally those already in place. "If we have a management that wants to take our money and run, we in all probability won't make that acquisition," he once told The Inquirer. In June, Triumph added to its stable with a $1.44 billion deal to buy Vought Aircraft Industries Inc. from private-equity giant the Carlyle Group.
William Merritt, 51
InterDigital Inc., King of Prussia
Total 2009 Pay: $1,572,653
Merritt, a mechanical engineer and Temple-trained patent attorney, was the right man for the job when he joined InterDigital in 1996. The company makes its fortune patenting and licensing technologies to cell phone manufacturers. Enforcing patents is tough - InterDigital's legal battles with Nokia and Samsung in recent years are evidence - but the company wants to make money on any mobile device that sends and receives information. Its portfolio now is more than 7,000 patents, and its technology is in such products as Apple's wildly popular iPhone.
Pay data were compiled by Equilar Inc., an executive- compensation research firm.