The full article is a lot longer and definitely worth reading.
May 28 (Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit weathered almost six hours of grilling from shareholders at the bank’s annual meeting on April 21. He had a lot of explaining to do: The company lost $27.7 billion in 2008 and stayed afloat only with help from a $45 billion government bailout.
Even as his bank was floundering, Pandit in 2008 earned $38 million in salary and stock, No. 3 among the best-paid CEOs of the top 50 U.S.-based financial companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In February, Pandit told a congressional committee that, starting in 2009, he would take just $1 in annual salary until the bank is profitable again. “I get the new reality,” he said. [...]
Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc., was No. 1 in the ranking after earning $42.95 million in salary and stock awards. The ranking includes CEOs who held their jobs for at least 10 months in 2008 (How We Crunched the Numbers). Kenneth Chenault, CEO and chairman of American Express Co., was No. 2, with total pay of $42.75 million. Chenault’s pay package included $8.57 million in salary and other direct compensation, with the rest paid in stock options and restricted shares.
Chenault, who has run New York-based Amex since 2001, topped a ranking of financial CEOs providing the least value for the money they earned, according to Bloomberg data. That ranking is based on Amex’s stock return for 2007 and 2008 -- down 69 percent -- combined with Chenault’s pay over the same period per million dollars of corporate assets. [...]
The financial executive providing the most value for the money was Warren Buffett, CEO and chairman of Omaha, Nebraska- based Berkshire Hathaway Inc., 58 percent of whose assets are in insurance. Buffett paid himself an average of $175,000 a year in 2007 and 2008 and was awarded no bonus and no stock options. He owns 33 percent of Berkshire’s Class A shares, which were valued at $31.5 billion on May 27.
Berkshire Hathaway was the single biggest holder of Amex stock as of March 31, with 13 percent of the shares outstanding. Buffett, 78, blames out-of-control executive pay on boards of directors who accede to CEO demands for multimillion-dollar compensation packages.
“Half of the directors I’ve met on corporate boards don’t know anything about business,” Buffett told shareholders during Berkshire’s annual meeting in May. “They are not going to do anything that not only gets them kicked off that board but that reduces their chances of getting on another one.” [...]
“We’re very well capitalized and expect to repay the TARP money soon,” Blankfein told shareholders at the company’s May 8 annual meeting. Goldman sold $10 billion in preferred shares to the Treasury in October.
The highest-paid U.S.-based CEO was Bruce Wasserstein, head of investment firm Lazard Ltd., with headquarters in Bermuda and principal offices in New York, Paris and London. He was awarded a total of $133 million in salary and stock awards in 2008 as part of a new contract, $96 million of which was a special retention award not scheduled to vest for five years. Lazard shares returned negative 28 percent in the 12 months ended on May 27. Lazard was excluded from the Bloomberg ranking because it’s based offshore.
Dimon earned an average of $32 million a year in 2007 and 2008, yet still provided relatively good value for the money, according to Bloomberg data, which ranked him No. 3 out of 36 CEOs in that category. That’s because JPMorgan stock did comparatively well -- its return for the two years was -30 percent compared with a fall of 66 percent for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index -- and because the assets of the firm are so huge. They were $2.2 trillion as of the end of its 2008 fiscal year.