Goldman Sachs CEO Blankfein gets stock-based $9 million bonus

Tomoeh Murakami Tse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 6, 2010; A08

Goldman Sachs said Friday that its chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, received a stock-based bonus of $9 million in 2009, ending weeks of speculation about how much the New York-based investment bank would dole out amid rising public anger over Wall Street pay.

The amount, although eye-popping by Main Street standards, is smaller than the stock-based bonuses his rivals received for 2009. On Friday, J.P. Morgan Chase said it would award $17 million to chief executive Jamie Dimon.

In a regulatory filing, Goldman said Blankfein received restricted stock Friday worth just shy of $9 million based on the firm's closing share price of $154.16. Two years ago, Blankfein set an industry record by receiving a $68 million bonus, about a third of it in cash, after his firm made $11.6 billion. He took no bonus in 2008, when profits plunged during the financial crisis.

For 2009, Goldman reported a record profit of $13.4 billion. The firm's $16.2 billion compensation pool for 2009, which includes pensions and other benefits, translates to nearly $500,000 an employee.

Wall Street pay packages have drawn sharp criticism from Washington, with lawmakers arguing that banks have returned to profitability by trading in markets boosted by federal emergency lending programs.

"It is only in their world where you can come within an eyelash of destroying the economy and then reward yourself with what you call a 'modest' $9 million pay day," said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

Blankfein's award comes as Goldman has sought to ease public anger over pay practices. In December, it said its top 30 executives would receive their 2009 bonuses in stock units, not cash, that could be cashed in after five years.

When asked whether the bonus size was indicative of future awards, Goldman spokesman Lucas van Praag said, "No, it's a reflection of the current environment."

-- Tomoeh Murakami Tse

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