Last year, Merrill Lynch's John Thain was the highest paid chief executive at a public company in the North East corridor stretching from Washington DC to Boston, according to the Associated Press.
Thain took over as CEO and chairman of Merrill in December, after record-breaking losses forced Stan O'Neal out of the corner office. According to the AP study, Thain took home $83 million in salary, bonus, benefits and perks last year. Although Thain only joined Merrill Lynch in December and was paid a base salary of $57,000, his compensation was boosted by a $15 million cash signing bonus, plus restricted stock and stock options, that Merrill paid to him when he agreed to leave the New York Stock Exchange. Much of that compensation, however, is tied up in incentive pay that Thain won't be able to access for several years. And those options won't do him much good if Merrill's stock price doesn't recover.
Lloyd Blankfein, the chief of Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley's John Mack also made the list of top earner. The rest of the list is after the jump.
1. John Thain of Merrill Lynch & Co.: $83 million
2. Leslie Moonves of CBS Corp.: $67.6 million
3. Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs Group: $54 million
4. Kenneth Chenault of American Express Co.: $51.7 million
5. John Mack of Morgan Stanley: $41.7 million