Monday, November 17, 2008

Goldman CEO, 6 others forgo 2008 bonuses

Lean 2008 compensation for the top seven GS execs

From Yahoo News, we uncover a true man bites dog story this morning, from which we incorporate these encouraging opening 'graphs:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS - News) said on Sunday its Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein and six other top officials will not get bonuses for 2008.
Blankfein, Presidents and Co-Chief Operating Officers Jon Winkelried and Gary Cohn, Chief Financial Officer David Viniar, and three vice chairmen -- J. Michael Evans, Michael Sherwood and John Weinberg -- asked the board's compensation committee Sunday morning that they not receive a bonus, spokesman Lucas van Praag said.
The compensation committee met and agreed, Praag said.
The executives will only be eligible for a base salary of $600,000 each, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Last year, Blankfein made $68.5 million, Winkelried and Cohn got $67.5 million, and Viniar got $57.5 million. The compensation of the other three was not disclosed.
With Goldman's profit dropping 70% in the last quarter alone, and its share price going into free-fall over the past year, this reported gesture of corporate contrition and prudence on the part of GS management might seem to the casual reader a "no brainer." It appears however that other factors may be involved. More from this morning's story:
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Goldman had taken "an important step in the right direction.
"Last month, Cuomo warned Goldman and eight other banks getting U.S. government money in the first round of capital injections under the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program that using the funds for bonuses might break state law.
"This gesture by Goldman Sachs is appropriate and prudent and hopefully will help bring Wall Street to its senses," Cuomo said in a statement on Sunday. "We strongly encourage other banks to follow Goldman Sachs' step."
What a shame it would be for these titans of the banking industry to land in the slam... we can't have that!

Thankfully, GS management will have hundreds of millions from previous years' bonuses to tide them over.

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