Goldman CEO gets record $68 Mn bonus

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 24 December 2007, 08:00 Hrs
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New York: The securities firm Goldman Sachs Group awarded chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein a record $67.9 million bonus in 2007 even as mortgage losses drove his counterparts at Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns to forgo year-end payouts.

Blankfein, 53, will receive $26.8 million in cash, and $41.1 million in restricted stock and options, said the New York-based firm in a regulatory filing. Co-presidents Gary Cohn, 47, and Jon Winkelried, 48, will each receive restricted shares and options valued at about $40.5 million, up from $25.7 million last year. Cash payments weren't disclosed for anyone other than Blankfein, who reaped a record setting $53.4 million last year.

Goldman shattered Wall Street profit records for the fourth consecutive year even as banks and securities firms including Citigroup and Merrill Lynch were forced to take at least $96 billion of write-downs. Goldman set aside $20.2 billion to pay employee salaries, benefits and bonuses, 23 percent more than last year.

"There are successful people and then there's extraordinary success, and they're trying to show as a firm that they're really extraordinary," said Jeanne Branthover, MD of Boyden World, an executive recruiter in New York. "They are rewarding him for leading such a fabulously successful ship, he added."

While Blankfein's pay climbed 27 percent from 2006, compensation for Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack and Bear Stearns chief James "Jimmy" Cayne plummeted as their companies suffered from the collapse of the subprime mortgage market.

Mack and Cayne, who each received $40 million last year, aren't taking any bonuses after reporting the first quarterly losses in the history of their firms. Morgan Stanley, the second biggest U.S. securities firm, awarded co-president Walid Chammah an $8.9 million stock bonus for 2007, the highest among the firm's executives, according to regulatory filings on Sunday. Chammah, 53, was granted 173,679 restricted shares on Saturday.

Co-president James Gorman, 49, received 155,380 restricted shares valued at $7.98 million. Morgan Stanley, based in New York, didn't disclose any cash payments in Sunday's filings. Chammah and Gorman succeeded Zoe Cruz and Robert Scully in November, after Cruz, 52, was forced out amid the firm's trading losses. Scully, 57, moved to the newly created office of the chairman. In 2006, Cruz received $18.9 million of stock and options, while Scully got $12.7 million.

"Goldman Sachs are just in a league in their own, they're an outlier when it comes to compensation," said Henry Higdon, managing partner of recruiting firm Higdon Partners in New York.

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