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Big-time bonuses

There’s five fellows out in Silicon Valley who have something to be happy about (and no, we’re not talking about Google here). National Semiconductor (NSM) handed out over $10 million in bonuses to its top five executives for the fiscal year ended May 30, 2004, according to the proxy filed yesterday. CEO Brian Halla got the biggest payout: $5 million, more than 10 times his fiscal 2003 bonus. But Chief Operating Officer Donald Macleod’s $2.2 million bonus — compared with $330,000 last year — is nothing to sneeze about either. Add in $23 million in exercised stock options last year — the stock nearly doubled during the fiscal year and the top five opted to cash in some of their chips — and pretty soon, you’re talking about real money.