Goldman board rejects shareholder demands on pay

NEW YORK Mon Mar 1, 2010 10:27am EST

Flags fly outside of the Goldman Sachs headquarters building in the financial district of New York January 21, 2010. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

Flags fly outside of the Goldman Sachs headquarters building in the financial district of New York January 21, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc's (GS.N) board has rejected demands from shareholders that the firm investigate recent compensation awards, recoup excessive compensation and reform pay practices.

Wall Street's dominant bank, criticized for paying billions of dollars in bonuses soon after the taxpayer bailout of the banking industry, reported the board's decision in a regulatory filing on Monday.

Goldman reported the shareholder demands last year and said at the time that its board was considering them. The firm did not name the shareholders who made the demands.

Goldman could not be immediately reached for comment.

Goldman reported a record profit in 2009 and was on pace to pay more than $20 billion in compensation heading into the fourth quarter. But facing public ire, it capped compensation expenses at $16.2 billion for the year.

The firm also paid its top 30 executives all-stock bonuses rather than cash.

Even though Goldman outperformed its biggest rivals in 2009, Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein received a stock bonus valued at $8.9 million, roughly half of what JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) chief Jamie Dimon received.

(Reporting by Steve Eder; editing by John Wallace)

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