Updates to clarify description of The Corporate Library, add "no comment" from GMAC representative
) -- Treasury "Pay Czar" Kenneth Feinberg is planning to disclose the salaries for the 25 most highly paid employees at
Bank of America
American International Group
within 30 days, according to statements attributed to him in an analyst's research report.
Feinberg made the statement at a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. research conference on executive compensation, according to a report from Concept Capital, a research firm. A Treasury Department spokeswoman did not respond to a call or an email message seeking to confirm the report. The analyst who wrote it, Jaret Seiberg, was also not available, according to a Concept Capital spokeswoman.
"As far as I knew he was required to approve or disapprove of the compensation levels for those employees, but not necessarily to make them public," says Paul Hodgson, senior research associate at The Corporate Library, an independent governance research firm. "That comes as something of a surprise."
The report did not clarify whether Feinberg would disclose the individuals' names, or merely how much they were paid. Hodgson says he does not believe it is necessary to name the individuals.
Though public companies disclose the pay of their top five corporate executives, including the CEO and CFO, those aren't necessarily always the highest paid employees.
Seiberg went on to write that Feinberg "left us with a clear impression he would like his rules to establish a precedent for the rest of the financial sector."
Hodgson says he thinks that will be difficult to accomplish.
Securities and Exchange Commission
floated a plan in 2006 to get companies to disclose more about how much top employees are paid, which became known as "The Katie Couric Clause," but that was shot down by corporate lobbyists.
Hodgson notes one effect of Feinberg's disclosure will be to expose his decisions to public scrutiny.
The report also states that Feinberg "seemed very uncomfortable" about clawing back compensation already paid to recipients of government bailout money, a power that extends to all recipients of Troubled Asset Relief Program investments, rather than just the seven that have received the most funds. Feinberg "suggested it would need to be a very egregious example to warrant recoupment," the report states.
"I don't know how egregious it needs to get before somebody might think about clawing back compensation," Hodgson says. "I mean, good grief! What do they need to do? Steal the office furniture?"
Particularly outrageous, Hodgson says, were the
, showing that the nine original TARP recipients, including
paid out nearly $9 billion in bonuses despite losing a combined $54 billion in 2008.
A Citi spokesman declined to comment for this article, as did a spokeswoman for GMAC. Messages left with BofA and AIG were not immediately returned.
Representatives for Chrysler Financial, General Motors and Chrysler could not immediately be reached.
Written by Dan Freed in New York