More than $3 billion was paid to the chief executives of the five biggest financial firms on Wall Street in the run-up to the credit crisis, Bloomberg reports. While supervising bad mortgage-related credit bets that eventually brought the financial system to its knees, Merrill Lynch’s Stanley O’Neal took in $172 million in 2003-07, while Bear Stearns’ James Cayne took in $161 million.
More number-crunching reveals:
- The $3.1 billion paid to execs was about three times the price JP Morgan paid for Bear Stearns in June.
- Goldman Sachs was most generous with its top players, paying out $859 million over that span.
- Henry Paulson was among those benefiting from Goldman largesse, taking in $111 million before becoming Treasury Secretary.
- Bear Stearns was next at $609 million.
- With $93 billion in net income, the firms’ average pay per employee was $353,089.