American International (NYSE:AIG)
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The U.S. government's pay czar approved an unchanged $10.5 million salary for American International Group Inc. (AIG) Chief Executive Robert Benmosche for 2011, though the company showed his total compensation rose 66% using another method for calculating his pay.
The 2011 plan approved by the U.S. Treasury's so-called special master allowed Benmosche to earn a cash salary of $3 million for the year and get a "stock salary" of $7.5 million, according to an AIG filing with securities regulators Thursday.
The total amount approved by the pay czar was unchanged from a year earlier, but the timing of when a portion of Benmosche's 2010 compensation was paid resulted in the 66% increase to $14 million from $8.4 million when calculated according to the rules governing how companies report executive pay to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The government gets to shape AIG's pay proposals because the insurer received a government rescue beginning in 2008. The Treasury has been selling off its stake in the company over the past year, but still owns 70% of AIG.
Since 2009, the special master has determined that compensation for AIG's top 100 employees should be based primarily on performance, and has pushed for a large portion of the compensation to be paid in stock that executives can't sell for a year or more. Cash salaries in most cases have been limited to $500,000.
AIG said the restrictions on cash salaries have meant the company's top 25 executives are getting cash compensation that's "lower than ever before" and "significantly lower than AIG's competitors."
Benmosche and Peter Hancock, the head of AIG's property-casualty unit, were the only executives named in the filing who earned cash salaries above $500,000 in 2011.
-By Erik Holm, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2892; firstname.lastname@example.org