It's certainly tough to argue with the results of Alan Mulally's tenure as chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company. The product and financial resurgence that Mulally has led allowed Ford to be the only Detroit-based automaker to avoid going through bankruptcy. That success is reflected in the Ford CEO's paycheck as well.

Mulally earned more in 2009 than the CEOs of Toyota, Nissan and Honda combined with a total take of $17.9 million in cash and bonuses. Toyota's Akio Toyoda earned $1.1 million and Honda's Takanobu Ito took home $1.3 million. Nissan's Carlos Ghosn was the highest paid of the Japanese company executives at almost $10 million.

It's not at all unusual for American executives to earn more than their counterparts overseas, although currently only Mulally is earning these large sums in Detroit. General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne are both limited as a result of the government bailouts. In spite of Mulally's success, his pay still pales next to the $100+ millions regularly paid to financial executives.

[Source: Detroit Free Press | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]