NEW YORK—After a record-breaking year and speculation of a $100 million bonus payout, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein is taking home a relatively modest $9 million bonus in deferred stock options, the company said last Friday.
The $9 million is entirely in deferred stock, not cash. The figure surprised many on Wall Street and in Washington, especially after Goldman reported its best year on record in 2009. It is a fraction of the then record $68 million he received in 2007. Last year, in the middle of the financial crisis, Blankfein did not receive a bonus.
While still eye-popping for most Americans, Blankfein's bonus is smaller than the chief executives at many of his rivals. In a move of deftness, Goldman made the announcement merely hours after competitor JPMorgan Chase & Co. said that its CEO, Jamie Dimon, would receive around $16 million.
Looking around the industry, John Stumpf of Wells Fargo received $18.4 million, and Citigroup's Vikram Pandit made $1 in salary with no bonus for 2009.
Pay packages at Wall Street banks have drawn the ire of lawmakers in Washington, who blamed the recent financial crisis and subsequent U.S. recession on the reckless bets undertaken by Wall Street bankers.
"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," Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said in an interview with Washington Post.
Other industry analysts say that Blankfein's $9 million bonus was a sign of restraint given the current populist sentiments surrounding Wall Street bonuses.
Earlier Friday, Dimon received his bonus in stock options and restricted stock, deferred over several years and complete with "clawback" provisions should the firm suffer in the near future.
Add in the $1 million in salary Dimon received in 2009, his total compensation would arrive at $17 million. Dimon received no bonus in 2008 and a $28 million bonus in 2007.
Around Wall Street, stock-based compensation may become the new norm until the U.S. economy fully rebounds from the worst recession in more than 50 years. James Gorman, new CEO at rival Morgan Stanley, received a bonus of around $11 million, also in stock.