NEW YORK (Reuters) –
Freddie Mac, the U.S. mortgage finance giant, on Thursday said it paid $1.3 million in retention bonuses to three executives in late 2008 and so far this year, including a full payout of the award promised to its acting chief financial officer before his shocking death, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Freddie Mac paid CFO David Kellermann the first $170,000 installment of the $850,000 bonus in 2008, and honored the rest of the agreement following his apparent suicide on April 22, according to a spokeswoman.
Paul George, executive vice president of human resources and corporate services, and Robert Bostrom, executive vice president and general counsel, received the first installments of controversial retention bonuses approved by Freddie Mac's regulator of $260,000 and $180,000, respectively. Their full bonus payouts through 2010 would be $1.3 million and $900,000.
The retention bonuses came amid an exodus of top management at Freddie Mac after the government forced the company into conservatorship, fearing deep losses from the housing crisis would hurt its ability to support the U.S. housing market. The company is the second-largest provider of residential mortgage money, and now a top provider of many commercial properties.
Executives that left the firm took home millions of dollars in compensation in 2008.
Former Chief Executive Officer Richard Syron earned $4.1 million in total compensation last year, down from more than $18 million in 2007, according to the filing. Gary Kain, the senior vice president of investments and capital markets, quit in January after receiving $3.7 million in 2008.
Among others who no longer work at the McLean, Virginia-based company, Kellermann earned $1.2 million in 2008, and Anthony "Buddy" Piszel, his predecessor, earned $909,051. Patricia Cook, former chief business officer, took home nearly $2 million, and Kirk Die, former auditor, earned $2.2 million.
David Moffett, who replaced Syron in September and resigned six months later, drew $283,269 of his $900,000 annual salary in 2008, plus $54,812 in other compensation. John Koskinen, who was non-executive chairman, replaced Moffett as interim CEO.
Kellermann, 41, and a 16-year veteran of Freddie Mac, played a key role in navigating past accounting troubles and answering queries of regulators and investors as the company struggled to extricate itself from the grips of the housing downturn. Just before his death, he told company officials he felt overwhelmed and was granted time off just before he died.
Of current executives, Bostrom earned a total $1.9 million in 2008, and George's compensation totaled $2.3 million.
Executives' pay includes no cash bonuses or incentive awards for 2008, the company said.
(Reporting by Al Yoon; Editing Bernard Orr)