Goldman Sachs Shareholders Vote to Approve Executive Pay

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein
Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s 2011 executive compensation plan, which awarded Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein $12.4 million, won approval from more than 94 percent of shareholders.

The tally was announced by General Counsel Gregory K. Palm at the company’s annual shareholder meeting today in Jersey City, New Jersey. The New York-based company won more support in the non-binding advisory vote than last year, when 73 percent of shareholders approved the awards.

All 10 board members at Goldman Sachs, the fifth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, were re-elected by a majority of shareholders, Palm said. James A. Johnson, the former Fannie Mae CEO who is the longest-serving director and the chairman of the bank’s compensation committee, had been publicly opposed by shareholder Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb Inc.

Support for Johnson fell to 83.6 percent from 95.5 percent last year, according to results published in a company filing after the meeting. About 49 million votes were cast against Johnson’s re-election, the most of any board member and four times as many as were cast against Blankfein, who was reelected with 96.2 percent of the vote, the results showed.

Shareholders rejected three proposals offered at the meeting by investors, according to Palm. All three had been opposed by the company’s board of directors.

Executive’s Holdings

One would have provided shareholders with so-called cumulative voting, which permits investors to withhold votes from certain director nominees in order to cast multiple ballots for others. It received approval from 24 percent of voters.

Another that would have required the bank’s named executive officers to retain at least 75 percent of their stock for at least three years after leaving the firm was approved by 17 percent.

The third would have required the company to prepare an annual report disclosing its direct and indirect lobbying expenditures, and was approved by 7 percent of the voters.

Similar proposals failed at last year’s annual meeting, with cumulative voting receiving 25.6 percent of the vote and a proposal requiring stock retention winning 20.6 percent.

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