Ex-Severfield-Rowen managing director was paid £2.8 million in his final six months at the firm last year.
John Severs left at the end of June 2007 and company accounts reveal that he received a basic salary of £300,000, a bonus of £900,000 and a one-off bonus of £1.6 million.
The amount is five times that of the next best figure, the £560,000 paid to chief executive Tom Haughey.
The accounts also reveal that Mr Severs, who retired after spending 30 years at the company he helped build up, will pick up a further £750,000 for a three year deal to act as a senior advisor runs out in July 2010.
Last week, shareholders at the AGM of the country’s only quoted steelwork contractor said the £1.6 million should not have been paid.
But the payment was defended by the company. In a statement, it said: “It is worthy of note and regard that in the last five years that John Severs was managing director, the company achieved an increase in total shareholder returns – the barometer by which investors judge the success of a company and its management – of 800 per cent.” It also said Mr Severs was not part of any long-term incentive plan.