Richard Anderson's compensation rose to almost $12.6 million, up from $8.9 million in 2011, according to an Associated Press calculation based on an SEC filing Tuesday.
His pay is divided between cash and stock and options that will only have value if Delta's stock price rises.
Delta paid Anderson $2.7 million in cash as part of an annual incentive plan, up from about $1 million a year earlier. It also added $2 million worth of stock options in 2012.
Delta awarded him $7 million in stock in both years.
His base salary rose 9 percent to $652,083. Delta said it was Anderson's first base salary increase since he joined the company as CEO in 2007.
Delta had a $1 billion profit last year. It has been more profitable than its chief competitors — United Continental Holdings Inc., which lost $723 million last year, and American Airlines, which spent the year reorganizing under bankruptcy protection.
Delta shares rose 47 percent last year as its finances improved. The stock also benefited from the growing investor view that airlines aren't as risky as they used to be, and that they will be helped by consolidation in the industry, including the merger of US Airways and American announced in February.
The Associated Press formula calculates an executive's total compensation during the last fiscal year by adding salary, bonuses, perks, above-market interest that the company pays on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock and stock options awarded during the year. The AP formula does not count changes in the present value of pension benefits. That makes the AP total slightly different in most cases from the total reported by companies to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The value that a company assigned to an executive's stock and option awards for 2012 was the present value of what the company expected the awards to be worth to the executive over time. Companies use one of several formulas to calculate that value. However, the number is just an estimate, and what an executive ultimately receives will depend on the performance of the company's stock in the years after the awards are granted. Most stock compensation programs require an executive to wait a specified amount of time to receive shares or exercise options.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.