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."