NYSE chairman defends US$48m pay

  • Business
  • Thursday, 11 Sep 2003

NEW YORK: New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) chairman Richard Grasso has come out in defence of his US$140mil pay and benefits package against critics who say it is too high, but said he would forgo US$48mil in additional benefits. 

“I’m very proud to say that I’ve been very well compensated,” Grasso said at a press conference held to detail the NYSE’s response to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) request for additional information on the massive compensation package. 

The money 57-year-old Grasso will forgo is part of his 1999 employment contract: he was entitled to US$48mil in future payments, US$20mil of which were vested benefits. 

Grasso, who became NYSE chairman in 1995, said the exchange should not be “preoccupied” with issues of compensation. He said he had no idea that when he joined the world’s largest stock exchange in 1968 he would be “blessed to enjoy” the heights he achieved. 

“I put this behind me,” Grasso said. “I am not going to debate the issue of the size of future payments.” 

Grasso’s total annual compensation peaked at US$25.55mil in 2001, according to eight years of figures the exchange divulged in a 12-page letter to the SEC on Tuesday. His pay nearly doubled to US$11.3mil in 1999 from US$6mil in 1998. It nearly doubled again to US$21.8mil in 2000. 

Late last month, the NYSE said it had extended Grasso’s contract by two years, till 2007, and distributed to him almost US$140mil in accrued savings, benefits and incentives, sparking a furor over the size of his compensation. – Reuters  

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