Battered Merrill's Top 10 Pocketed $209M

Compensation for top execs higher than in '07, despite firm's massive losses
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2009 4:55 AM CST
Former Merrill Lynch & Co. CEO John Thain leaves the building that houses the office of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in New York last month.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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(Newser) – Merrill Lynch's top 10 earners raked in more than $200 million last year as their company lost $27.6 billion, a Wall Street Journal investigation finds. Eleven execs were each paid at least $10 million in cash and shares, which have now dived in value. A further 149 execs made more than $3 million each, mostly in bonuses on top of base salaries ranging from $250,000 to $750,000.

Merrill exec David Sobotka—now a trading chief at Merrill buyer Bank of America—was paid $13 million last year despite his division finishing 2008 down a whopping $36 billion. Bank of America was subpoenaed last week after refusing to give bonus details to investigators, claiming that making the information public would help rival firms woo away talent.