JPMorgan Chase touched off a round of criticism when it disclosed that it would give its chief executive, Jamie Dimon, a big raise for 2013, a year in which the bank paid billions to resolve legal problems.
But another Wall Street titan came to Mr. Dimon's defense on Tuesday.
In an interview on Bloomberg TV, John J. Mack, the former chairman and chief executive of Morgan Stanley, called for an end to the harsh words that have been hurled at Mr. Dimon and Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman Sachs's chief executive, over their pay. (The remarks begin at 5:23.)
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He said he would love to see people "stop beating up on Lloyd and Jamie." He added: "I think that would make a lot of sense, and I'm in favor of that."
He said a debate over compensation was necessary and "healthy," but he emphasized that chief executives should be judged according to their companies' performance.
(Read more: Chinese official made job plea to JPMorgan's Dimon)
"As long as shareholders reward performance — what these companies have delivered — we can argue is it $10 million too much or $1 million too much," Mr. Mack said.
"The last time I checked," he said, "this business is still a business that pays people extremely well."
—By William Alden of The New York Times