Wells Fargo’s John Stumpf. Travelers Cos’s Jay Fishman. Chubb Corp’s John Finnegan. According to the July issue of Bloomberg Markets, all three men “are defying a trend,” by taking home $21.3 million, $20.6 million, and $19.2 million, while many of their fellow CEO’s dialed it down on payday. Why were they able to take such a stand, in the face of populist outrage, Ken Feinberg and the shouts of random passersby that Wall Street S’s major D? Obviously the answer is that nobody gives a crap about these guys.
With all due respect of course. You want 20 mill? Sure, take it. Fill these garbage bags with as many unmarked hundos as you can cram in there. Whatever you want, no one cares. No one’s even paying attention, and that includes the Comp Cop, who was just happy to be able to cross “annoy the fuck out of Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon and that other one” and proclaim mission accomplished when they announced they’d each be taking home bupkus relative to previous years. JD’s pay dropped 96%, Blankfein dropped from the highest paid CEO in ’08 to the 48th in ’09, right next to Warren Buffett (who famously awards himself a mere 6 figures each year, which doesn’t seem like much until you factor in that he still pays prosties, his biggest expense, at 1955 rates), and Vikram got $1 (+ $128,750, compesation he earned before he boldly pledged to not take anything until Citi turned a profit). Naturally, Feinberg would like to give credit where credit is due (to himself), for these changes.
The pay cut suffered by Blankfein, Dimon and Pandit “demonstrates better than anything the political impact of what I’m doing,” Feinberg says, speaking from his office near the 163-year-old Willard Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, a block from the White House. “I think they feel that it is unwise at this stage to be seeking lavish compensation packages. How do you justify those three people dropping? You justify it by saying that they don’t want to deal with the political consequences and the heat of this.”