Goldman Sachs boss nets $14.1m package

Goldman Sachs has signalled an end to a short-lived era of "restraint" in salaries and bonuses by awarding its chief executive $14.1m (£8.7m) in cash, stock awards and perks for the last year. The payout is a huge increase from 2009, when Lloyd Blankfein was awarded just over $1m for his efforts, according to the Associated Press.

Goldman Sachs was one of a number of Wall Street firms that appeared willing to restrict bonuses and payouts in the light of the financial crisis and the resulting government bailout. The firm received $10bn from Washington in 2008. In 2010, the bank's revenue fell 13 per cent to $39.2bn.

Nevertheless, Mr Blankfein's compensation for last year includes a cash bonus of $5.4m and stock awards of $7.7m. He was also granted restricted stock valued at $12.6m, which is not counted in the total annual package because the grants are paid out over a period of three years.

Mr Blankfein has been a controversial figure on Wall Street. After a childhood of intense poverty in the South Bronx, he rose through the ranks at Goldman's banking operations to became chief executive in 2006. Last year he jokingly described his company's role in the world economy as "doing God's work" – a slip for which he later apologised.

Although his salary is among the top tier for US executives, it is a fraction of what it was just a few years ago. In 2008, Mr Blankfein was known as one of the highest-paid chief executives in the world, taking home a package worth in excess of $42m.

However, the company's reputation took a beating during the financial crisis and has declined further in the light of fraud allegations by US regulators. The Securities and Exchange Commission last year brought a civil fraud lawsuit against the bank, charging it with misleading investors about the risk associated with some mortgage funds. Investors lost close to $1bn, while a Goldman client, Paulson & Co, profited from the investments, the government said. Goldman paid $550m to settle the lawsuit. The company has also set up funds to assist small US businesses and entrepreneurs.

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