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GE CEO Immelt Declines 2008 Bonus

Updated from 1 a.m. EST

General Electric (GE - Get Report) said CEO Jeff Immelt declined his 2008 bonus as the company's stock price has dropped amid deteriorating economic conditions.

The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company, which makes everything from locomotives to household appliances, said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Immelt also will forgo his $11.7 million long-term performance award.

GE said it accepted Immelt's offer to go without the payments because of its declining stock price.

General Electric's shares have fallen 33% so far in 2009 and lost more than half their value last year. The stock closed at $10.81 on Tuesday.

The news that Immelt was waiving his right to collect bonus and performance-based pay was first reported by the Financial Times .

Immelt began to consider declining his annual bonus and long-term performance award last year after drawing criticism for missing earnings guidance and failing to reverse a slump in the conglomerate's stock price, the Financial Times reported. While Immelt hasn't always evaded scrutiny for GE's results during his eight years at the helm, he is rarely singled out for excessive pay, the newspaper notes.

Immelt's decision to turn down the bonus was approved by GE's board this month.

Based on how GE fared over the last three years, Immelt was entitled to a long-term performance cash award of almost $12 million, according to the Financial Times. He also stood to get an annual bonus, worth $5.8 million in 2007.

The GE board agreed to keep Immelt's annual salary at $3.3 million, said the people familiar with GE's plans. In total, the cash portion of Immelt's compensation will decline 64% from a year ago.

He will continue to earn performance-share units, which may be converted into GE stock in five years if the company achieves certain goals on its cash and stock returns, the newspaper reported.

Earlier in February, Immelt warned that capping the salaries of bank executives whose companies take taxpayer bailout money undermines the government rescue effort.

GE last month reported 44% decline in fourth-quarter net income.
This article was written by a staff member of AP contributed to this report.

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