Pay and perks for IT executives are being hit by the economic crisis, according to report by Janco Associates.

Janco, a US-based IT consulting firm that conducts salary surveys, said it found that the mean compensation for CIOs in large enterprises is now $168,839, a 6.11 per cent decrease from a similar study it issued a year ago.

In medium sized organisations, the current average is $163,211, a drop-off of nearly 5 per cent, said Janco, which cited reductions in bonuses and fringe benefits for the decline.

The firm collected data from 231 organisations and culled information from filings submitted to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. As part of its report, Janco also compiled a list of some of the most highly paid people working in US IT, although several of the people on the list have multiple responsibilities at their companies. Others have taken new jobs since the compensation data was publicly reported.

The list is based on information available last summer and covers the preceding 12 months, Janco said.

The highest-paid executive that Janco found is Jeffrey Fox, chief operating officer at Alltel, a telecommunications firm. Fox, whose responsibilities include IT, network services and enterprise security, has an annual salary of $673,000 and total compensation of just over $9 million, Janco said.

Second on the consulting firm's list is Robert Willett, CEO of Best Buy's international business unit with worldwide responsibility for the retailer's information systems. Janco said that Willett's salary is $623,000 and that other compensation raised his total package to nearly $8.6 million.

Third is Jean Davis, who has been head of operations, technology and e-commerce at Wachovia, who was paid a salary of $205,500, with total compensation of $7.3 million, Janco said. Wachovia was acquired by Wells Fargo & Co. in a merger that was completed on 31 December.

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