I’ve been reading a justly lauded book about Bear Stearns and the shenanigans that led to the firm’s collapse, House of Cards by William D. Cohan.
In his dissection of the firm and his evisceration of its executives, the author periodically brings us up to date on their compensation, a pittance in contrast to most of the mammoth packages handed on Wall Street today.
For example, Cohan writes that top executives, especially Ace Greenberg and Jimmy Cayne, were making “eye-popping” amounts of money in the fiscal year ended June 1991. He notes that:
. . . the thirteen top Bear Stearns executives received an average compensation of $2.8 million, up 25 percent from the year before.
Greenberg’s cash compensation for the year increased to $5.3 million, from $4.2 million the year before.”
Who among us wouldn’t be thrilled to collect that much money in a single year? Answer: the folks toiling on the Street these days. Continue reading