Pay Czar Blocks Salary for Ken Lewis

BofA CEO will return $1M and forgo any pay this year
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2009 7:42 AM CDT
Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis testifies on Capitol Hill June 11.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – President Obama's pay czar has landed his biggest punch yet: Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis will forgo any pay this year and return $1 million he's already accepted. But don't start up a collection just yet: The reason Kenneth Feinberg made the request is because Lewis will receive about $70 million in retirement benefits when he steps down in December. Feinberg is powerless to touch that sum, but he figured it's compensation enough, reports the Wall Street Journal.

"Mr. Feinberg suggested that Ken Lewis should take no compensation for 2009," said a bank spokesman. "Mr. Lewis agreed. Mr. Lewis added that he felt it was not in the best interest of Bank of America for him to get involved in a dispute with the paymaster." At least one industry analyst thinks Feinberg went too far, calling the move an example of "absolute overreaching." The pay czar is reviewing nearly 200 other salaries, and his report is due by the end of the month.