Dr Kloppers took home $15 million last year. How is the sypercycle turning out for you?

South African-born  BHP Billiton  chief executive  Marius Kloppers is number five on the list of Britain's best-paid bosses in a ranking published by the  Financial Time.

The 49-year-old boss of the world's largest mining company took home £9.8 million ($15.2 million) last year including bonuses, pension contributions and stock options.

Kloppers, who took up the helm of BHP Billiton in 2007, followed two big pharma heads – GlaxoSmithKline’s Andrew Witty (£10.7 million) and AstraZeneca’s David Brennan (£11.3) –  an advertising exec – WPP’s Martin Sorrell (£11.6 million)  – and a banker – Barclays’ Bob Diamond (£20.9 million).

The Wall Street Journal's sister investment site Barron's has an annual list of the world's 30 best CEOs and Kloppers made the list for 2011 alongside Warren Buffet (no surprise here) and Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos, FedEx's Fred Smith, JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon, Oracle's Larry Ellison and Anheuser-Busch Inbev's Carlos Brito among others.

Forbes calculates  Kloppers' 2011 salary, up only around $300,000 from his 2010 wage, this way:

Salary $2,114,814
Bonus $2,351,448
Restricted stock awards $6,236,238
All other compensation $85,708
Changes in pension value and deferred compensation earnings     $845,926
Total Compensation $11,634,134

Dr Kloppers studied chemical engineering at Pretoria University in South Africa, holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and also graduated with an MBA from France's INSEAD.

Read Kloppers clobbers capex about the changes at BHP Billiton as the slowdown in the commodities business begin to bite >>