the visible hand

it is the theory which decides what can be observed – einstein

Wall St executives on defensive over pay

Posted by ecoshift on March 8, 2008

FT.com / Companies / US & Canada – Wall St executives on defensive over pay
By James Politi in Washington
Published: March 7 2008 20:25 |

Three top Wall Street figures at the centre of the US mortgage crisis on Friday faced a barrage of criticism from Democratic lawmakers, who accused them of raking in excessive pay packages while their companies suffered billions of dollars of losses.

Appearing before the House oversight and government reform committee, Angelo Mozilo, chief executive of Countrywide, the largest US mortgage lender, Stan O’Neal, former chief executive of Merrill Lynch, and Chuck Prince, the former chief executive of Citigroup, were forced to defend their compensation as fair and in line with investors’ interests.

“The reality is that I received no severance package. I received no bonus for 2007, no severance pay, no golden parachute,” Mr O’Neal said. “The amount discussed in the press [$161m] consisted mainly of deferred compensation, stock and options that I earned during the years prior to 2007,” he added.

Henry Waxman, the Democratic chairman of the committee, opened the hearing with a statement that included the question: “When companies fail to perform, should they give millions of dollars to their senior executives?” Later, he added: “You’re in the middle of an enormous debacle. It seems like everyone is hurting except for you.”

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