Top 10 at Merrill made $209 million last year

Not bad considering the Merrill Lynch lost almost $28 billion. When the GOP and the Wall Street apologists attack the Obama plan to move the country beyond the failed policies of the past, this is who they are supporting. It’s the American oligarchs and their political muscle who want to keep everything the same.

As bad as 2008 was for Merrill Lynch & Co., it was very good for Andrea Orcel, the firm’s top investment banker. Although Merrill’s net loss ballooned to $27.6 billion last year, Mr. Orcel, 45 years old, was paid $33.8 million in cash and stock, just shy of his pay in 2007.

While Merrill staggered, 11 top executives were paid more than $10 million in cash and stock last year, say people familiar with the situation. An additional 149 received $3 million or more. The stock awards, which accounted for much of the compensation, have fallen sharply in value since they were made last year.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has subpoenaed information about Merrill’s highest-paid employees in connection with his probe into $3.6 billion in bonuses paid by Merrill in the days before it was taken over by Bank of America Corp. Thus far, Bank of America hasn’t turned over the names of Merrill’s highest-paid executives, claiming it would help rivals woo its top talent.

The Wall Street Journal has identified most of the top 10 executives and their compensation levels from documents and interviews with people familiar with Merrill’s compensation. Merrill’s 10 highest-paid employees got a total of $209 million in cash and stock in 2008, up slightly from $201 million paid to the top 10 a year earlier, according to the figures reviewed by the Journal. In 2007, 28 Merrill employees were paid more than $10 million. That total doesn’t include Merrill’s private-client group, where its brokers work.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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