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AmEx CEO Kenneth I. Chenault declines 2008 bonus

AmEx CEO Kenneth I. Chenault declines 2008 bonus

The chief executive of American Express Co. received a pay package worth nearly $43 million in 2008, although much of that consists of stock and option awards currently of little value given the sharp decline in the credit card company's stock price.
CEO Kenneth I. Chenault also declined to accept a 2008 cash bonus, though four other top executives received 2008 bonuses totaling more than $10 million, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday.
American Express, facing soaring credit card defaults, is one of many lenders that has accepted capital from the government. It applied for funding last year, and in January received a $3.4 billion investment in the form of a preferred stock purchase.
Chenault's 2008 compensation totaled $42.9 million, down 17 percent from his 2007 pay package of $51.7 million. But the bulk of Chenault's 2008 compensation came in the form of $34.17 million worth of stock and option awards, granted back in January 2008 when shares traded at $49.13 _ they have since fallen to $12.17, as of Tuesday.
American Express said in the filing it does not expect a majority of those awards for Chenault to ever vest, given the company's performance to date.
Chenault received a 2008 salary of $1.25 million, a $6.11 million cash bonus for his performance in 2006 that vested in February 2009, and above-market earnings on deferred compensation of $188,480. He got perks and other compensation totaling $1.21 million _ which included $414,702 for personal use of the company aircraft, $134,299 for local travel, $200,898 for a home security system, and $331,250 in company contributions to savings plans.
Meanwhile, other top executives received lower salaries, but did get cash bonuses for 2008.
In addition to their 2006 bonuses that recently vested, Vice Chairman Edward Gilligan was paid a 2008 bonus of $3.5 million; President Alfred Kelly received $3 million; Chief Financial Officer Dan Henry received $2.1 million; and Chief Information Officer Stephen Squeri received $1.65 million.
American Express said its compensation committee "determined that the company's performance and the individual performance of the (officers) below CEO merited each of them a cash (annual incentive award) in respect of 2008 performance," the filing said.
In the filing, Amex noted that the officers' awards were smaller than in 2007, when their awards included cash and the value of restricted stock awards and restricted stock units.
The AP's total pay calculations include executives' salary, bonus, incentives, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year. The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits, and they sometimes differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, amid the global market meltdown, American Express earned $240 million, or 21 cents per share, down from $831 million, or 71 cents per share, a year earlier. For 2008, the lender's profit rose to $2.70 billion, or $2.33 per share, from $2.63 billion, or $2.27 per share.
In 2008, American Express shares fell 64 percent. So far this year, they are down 34 percent.