Goldman CEO Blankfein Got 75% Wage Boost in 2012

Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs.
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Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc's board awarded Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein a 75 percent increase in compensation, to $21 million, for 2012 - including pay, bonus and restricted stock award.

His pay was unchanged at $2 million, but both his cash bonus and stock award almost doubled to $5.7 million and $13.3 million, respectively.

But a summary compensation table in Goldman's proxy - the standard format for reporting executive pay - tells a different story because Blankfein's stock awards were not granted until January 2013.

That calculation shows Blankfein receiving $13.3 million in compensation last year, an 18 percent drop from 2011. The figure includes stock awards from prior years that were paid out in 2012, as well as $323,514 in benefits and other perks.

In explaining its bonus awards, Goldman's board called Blankfein a "strong leader" who demonstrated commitment to the bank and its clients, and understood nuances of its business strategy.

The Wall Street bank's earnings nearly tripled last year, due in large part to a major cost-cutting effort as trading and dealmaking volumes remained muted. Its shares rose 41 percent in 2012 and are up a further 17 percent this year, based on Thursday's closing price of $149.07.

Compensation for other named executives in Goldman's proxy - Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn, former Chief Financial Officer David Viniar and Vice Chairmen J. Michael Evans and John Weinberg - showed similar trends: higher pay awarded for their work in 2012 but pay cuts according to technical calculations.

The proxy filing also included a shareholder proposal from a Chicago attorney named Eric Fogel who owns $2,000 worth of stock and argues that Goldman ought to pursue a merger or outright sale to increase shareholder value.

Other shareholder proposals suggest the bank disclose more information about its lobbying activities, create a human rights committee and allow shareholders to nominate new board members. Goldman recommended that shareholders vote against those proposals.