The chief executive of E-Trade Group Inc., the online brokerage and financial services company, is giving back $21 million in 2001 compensation after his hefty salary raised eyebrows on Wall Street.
Even after the capitulation, however, Christos Cotsakos still will be one of the highest-paid financial services executives.
He will have received nearly $60million for his work last year, far more than chief executives at blue-chip firms such as Goldman Sachs Group and Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.
Shareholders have registered their discontent by selling E-Trade stock.
Shares of the Menlo Park, Calif., company have fallen about 18% since the announcement April 30 of Cotsakos' original 2001 compensation of nearly $80 million. The stock fell 17 cents to $5.95 in New York Stock Exchange trading Friday.
"We are clearly in a difficult economic environment, and investors clearly reacted to this," E-Trade President Mitch Caplan said. "And we wanted to make sure that we got our message out loud and clear that we heard investors and were responding to their concerns."
Cotsakos, 53, is returning $15million in restricted stock and $6million that E-Trade had contributed to his retirement plan. The company also had repaid a $15-million loan as part of his pay package.
E-Trade said Friday that Cotsakos signed a contract for the next two years that provides an annual bonus based on the company's performance, but no base salary.
Cotsakos, who owns about $105million in E-Trade stock, or nearly 5% of the company, received a base salary of nearly $798,000 and a bonus of $4.1 million in 2001.