Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was the highest paid chief executive officer of any North American company in 2012. The social network boss received $2.28 billion in compensation last year with nearly all of his yearly earnings coming as a result of exercising share options when the company went public.

According to research firm GMI Ratings, the top 10 highest-paid CEOs earned a combined $4.7 billion during 2012 although $3.3 billion of that came from stock option profits. Either way, that is the highest total in the 11 years that the firm has been publishing yearly compensation reports. What's more, two chief executives earned more than $1 billion and not a single person in the top 10 took home less than $100 million.

2012 was the third year in a row in which North American CEOs realized significant compensation gains. Among the 2,259 executives surveyed, median earnings were up 8.47 percent but that's actually down from double-digit gains the two previous years. The firm also found that CEOs of Standard & Poor companies saw a median increase of 19.65 percent.

Other tech-based CEOs in the top 10 include Apple chief Tim Cook (fifth place) and Sales CEO Marc Benioff (ninth place). Other big names like LinkedIn boss Jeffrey Weiner didn't make the list but still had a stellar year, bringing home $78 million in total compensation ($75 million from stock options).