The UK has slipped into third place in the executive pay league behind the US and Germany, a report has suggested.
BP boss Lord Browne was believed to be Britain's top-earning boss
The average chief executive of a private company in the UK earns just over £500,000 a year, according to research in Management Today magazine.
They trail their German counterparts by around £100,000 a year, while US bosses take home £1.5m a year on average.
BP boss Lord Browne was the best-paid in the UK, his total package worth more than £8m a year, it was claimed.
In 2003, the magazine's survey put the UK in second place behind the US, with Australia, France and Japan all positioned above Germany.
New Labour mission
Meanwhile, public sector organisations became more commercial and tried to hang on to experienced staff by paying higher wages, the study suggested.
Adam Crozier of the Royal Mail was said to be the highest earner on £2m a year, followed by Network Rail's John Armitt on around £1m.
Management Today editor Matthew Gwyther said rising public sector salaries were caused by New Labour's mission to improve public services.
"[The mission] led to an increased crossover of business talent from the private sector and increased upward pressure on senior pay."
The magazine said there were 18 jobs advertised on one public sector website at salaries of more than £100,000 a year.
Despite being paid more than workers in private firms, public sector employees took more time off, according to the report.