Goldman Sachs CEO rakes in $26 million in 2012

Surprise! An analysis of bank CEO pay in 2012 reveals that executives make a lot of money -- and many are overpaid

By Katie McDonough
Published May 30, 2013 5:04PM (UTC)
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Lloyd Blankfein (AP)

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was paid, including salary, stocks and bonuses, an astonishing $26 million in 2012, making him the highest paid North American CEO in finance for that year, according to a new report from Bloomberg Markets magazine.

Joining Blankfein at the top of the list is John Stumpf of Wells Fargo, who took home $19.3 million. Overall, bank executive compensation increased 7.7 percent over the last year, according to Bloomberg.

When reached for comment, Goldman, naturally, suggested that it was very normal to award Blankfein a 73.7 percent compensation hike. “We strongly believe in linking executive pay to performance, and the variability of executive pay at the company over the past few years is a testament to that,” Goldman Sachs spokesman David Wells told Bloomberg in an e-mail. “We believe that our own framework for linking pay to performance provides a more reliable and thoughtful reflection of how best to compensate senior leaders than the methodology used for this exercise.”

But Bloomberg calculates that Blankfein's "performance pay" may be overblown, placing him third in its ranking of most overpaid CEOs:

Goldman awarded Blankfein with a 73.3 percent pay hike, the biggest increase among the CEOs. His bank, the fourth largest by assets, posted a 43.4 percent stock return, also the fourth highest, and a 10.7 percent ROE, placing 11th. The average of these three rankings -- 6.3 -- was Goldman’s average score. When Blankfein’s No. 1 pay ranking was subtracted from 6.3, the difference -- 5.3 -- was the second biggest on the list, making him the second-most-overpaid chief.

Bloomberg wasn't alone in its assessment of Blankfein and others' lavish compensation: “All of them are being overpaid,” Eleanor Bloxham, CEO of Value Alliance Co., told Bloomberg. “The bank boards still don’t have a good handle on how they should be compensating their executives.”

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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