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Golden parachute lands Merrill exec in $37-million pad

December 30, 2008 | 11:43 am

Let’s all be thankful that someone can still afford to buy a home in this credit crunch.

From today's New York Post:

Look what taxpayers' Wall Street rescue helped buy one former honcho!

Peter Kraus -- a former top executive at Merrill Lynch who received a $25-million golden parachute after only three months' work -- has landed himself a $37-million Park Avenue pad.

Kraus, 55, doled out the staggering sum for the five-bedroom co-op at 720 Park Ave. near East 70th Street after taking $25 million from Merrill after the company was sold to Bank of America in September.

Chalk it up to brilliant negotiation skills, and being in the right place at the right time: The Post says that Merrill hired Kraus as an executive vice president in summer, and agreed to a $50-million total pay package for him -- including the customary giant golden parachute.

"Although he did not officially start work until September, Kraus hit the jackpot after just a couple of days, when Merrill CEO John Thain sold the company to Bank of America," the Post notes. "The sale automatically triggered the $25 million payout under Kraus' contract. He left Merrill this month."

His parachute is equivalent to 0.1% of the $25 billion cash infusion that Bank of America and Merrill together got under the government’s bailout plan for the financial system.

Kraus now is CEO of money manager AllianceBernstein.

-- Tom Petruno

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