Bonuses to Mercantile's top two executives drop 55% Company failed to meet 1996 performance goals

March 11, 1997|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

Year-end bonuses paid to Mercantile Bankshares Corp.'s top two executives fell 55 percent last year because the company didn't meet an aggressive performance goal, according to a preliminary filing with the federal government.

H. Furlong Baldwin, Mercantile's chairman and chief executive, earned $969,400 in salary and bonuses in 1996, down about 21 percent. Edward J. Dunn Jr., the president, received salary and bonus of $490,000, down about 18 percent, the company's proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

Both executives received slight increases in salary, but their bonuses were down dramatically because the company's earnings per share results last year lagged 1995's performance, a company official said.

Baldwin and Dunn received hefty bonuses in 1995 when earnings per share increased by 16 percent. Baldwin's salary and bonus totaled $1.23 million in 1995, and he was granted stock options totaling 80,000 shares. Dunn's total compensation reached $598,700, and he was granted 45,000 shares in stock options.

Neither Baldwin nor Dunn received additional stock options last year, the proxy said.

Mercantile is Maryland's largest independent banking company and has been a solid performer.

"They have done very well," said David West, a banking analyst with Richmond, Va.-based Davenport & Co. "It is a very profitable bank."

Mercantile executives can receive a maximum bonus if earnings per share increase 15 percent or more, West said. They were up about 12 percent to $2.46 in 1996, compared with a 16 percent increase the year before.

The proxy also stated that Brian B. Topping, a Mercantile director since 1988 and an executive who headed its trust department, relinquished his positions Dec. 31. He will continue as vice chairman of Mercantile-Safe Deposit & Trust Co., the company's flagship bank, under a new agreement, which calls for him to serve in that position for a five-year term.

Topping will receive an annual fee of $125,000, the proxy said. He will provide investment services to large Mercantile clients.

Baldwin, who is 65 and owns 195,639 shares of Mercantile's common stock, has an employment agreement with the company until Feb. 1, 1999, which may be extended until Feb. 1, 2000.

Pub Date: 3/11/97

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