The Journal sheds some light on just how lucrative the Lazard (LAZ) CEO slot was for Bruce Wasserstein. Though the investment bank is public, it really was his boutique shop.
Mr. Wasserstein’s pay package underscored a fact of life at Lazard: In addition to being the public face of the investment-banking firm, Mr. Wasserstein received the lion’s share of its pay. The restricted stock units will vest 30 days after his death. Based on Lazard’s closing price Thursday of $42.79, the units are valued at $188 million.
His 2008 pay package of $20.4 million — most of it in restricted stock — exceeded the combined pay of the next four Lazard officers by nearly $3 million, according to the company’s proxy. Such a skewed pay arrangement, though not uncommon at hedge funds and other private companies, is rare these days in a publicly traded investment bank.
Interestingly, despite his crucial role, investors don’t seem wildly concerned about what the post-Wasserstein Lazard will look like. After an initial drop at the open, yesterday, the stock recovered nearly all of its losses.