Base pay will increase for the majority of top execs in the finance and auto firms supervised by federal pay czar Kenneth Feinberg. Salaries are being bumped up—by hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases—as bonuses and other perks are slashed. Despite the salary hikes, all 136 execs at the seven firms overseen by Feinberg will end up making much less than last year.
Critics say the salary increases—granted in response to appeals from banks—contradict Feinberg's promise to restructure how top execs are paid. Other analysts say the hikes are a necessary move to help the firms retain talent. It "reflects his judgment that for competitive purposes he's got to keep these people," one Harvard expert told the Wall Street Journal. Requests for higher base salaries from some firms, including AIG, were rejected.