UPDATE 4-American Express CEO gets base pay jump

* CEO Chenault to receive $2 mln in base pay

* Three others executives get raises

* Company planned to reverse pay cut
(Adds Capital One CEO pay information)

By Steve Eder

NEW YORK, Jan 29 (BestGrowthStock) – American Express Co (AXP.N: )
raised Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault’s base pay by 60
percent to $2 million for 2010, in the latest instance of Wall
Street firms boosting regular executive compensation while
cutting bonuses.

Banks have made similar moves to increase base pay, but
none have so far have reported hikes as dramatic as the one
Chenault is due to receive from the largest U.S. credit card
company by purchases. Chenault’s base compensation is also high
relative to other Wall Street firms.

Morgan Stanley (MS.N: ) (Read more about the money market today. ) in May said it would boost the base
salaries of some of its top executives, although it kept the
pay of then CEO John Mack at $800,000.

Boosting base pay while reducing bonuses is increasingly
seen as a way to reduce incentives for executives to juice up
their compensation by taking outsized risk.

American Express said it was also boosting base pay for
three other senior executives, according to a filing with the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Edward Gilligan, vice chairman, will make $1.45 million;
Stephen Squeri, group president of global services and chief
information officer, will make $1 million; and Daniel Henry,
executive vice president and chief financial officer, will make

Separately, Capital One said its chief executive, Richard
Fairbank, will receive options to buy Capital One shares, the
opprtunity to earn restricted shares, and the chance to earn
performance shares tied to Capital One’s relative performance
to other banks.

The target value for the package is about $13 million, but
the value depends on factors including the bank’s performance.

Fairbank has not taken a salary since 1997, according to a

Base compensation for American Express CEO Chenault’s
exceeds Brian Moynihan’s. The new Bank of America Corp (BAC.N: )
will be paid a base salary of $950,000 in 2010.

Moynihan’s predecessor, Kenneth Lewis made $1.5 million in
2008, at the height of the financial crisis, more than other
banking CEO made that year. JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: ) CEO
Jamie Dimon received $1 million in base pay in 2008, while
Citigroup Inc’s (C.N: ) CEO Vikram Pandit received $958,000,
Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (GS.N: ) Lloyd Blankfein received

Base pay is usually a small portion of overall compensation
for chief executives in the financial sector.


American Express repaid the $3.4 billion bailout it
received as part of the largest taxpayer rescue of the
financial system in June. The company reported higher quarterly
earnings last week, beating forecasts, helped by rising
consumer spending and lower credit costs.

Chenault told employees last fall that American Express
would reverse companywide pay cuts instituted in early 2009,
including a 10 percent cut for executives above the level of
senior vice president. He cited improving business conditions.

Chenault’s total compensation package for 2009 is expected
to be disclosed early this year. His 2008 package totaled
$27.33 million, a 5 percent increase over what he made in 2007
even though the company faced ballooning credit losses.

His 2008 pay included $18.12 million in stock and option
awards, $6.11 million in non-equity incentive plan
compensation, $641,000 of pension value and non-qualified
deferred compensation and $1.21 million in other compensation.

Additional perks included use of the company’s aircraft,
automobiles, and a home security system.

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(Reporting by Steve Eder; Editing by Derek Caney, Tim Dobbyn,
Leslie Gevirtz)

UPDATE 4-American Express CEO gets base pay jump