Cheniere Energy (LNG) CEO Charif Souki emerged as the highest paid U.S. executive in 2013, with $142M in compensation that included a $133M stock award that vests as his company hits certain financial and operational goals.
Does he deserve it? You bet he does, Forbes' Christopher Helman writes; first-mover advantage means a lot, and Souki positioned the company to become the first to export liquefied natural gas produced from the U.S. shale boom.
Other gas export projects have since been approved by the U.S. and dozens more have been proposed, but the reality is that very few of them will ever be built; "by seizing opportunity and executing, [Souki] is building what will be an almost unique asset, one with guaranteed cash flow for a generation to come," Helman writes.
LNG shares have surged 30-fold since Nov. 2009.