5 Legg executives get $11 million in bonuses

CEO Mason receives $4.8 million -- 43% of total awarded


June 19, 1999|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

Legg Mason Inc. paid its top five executives more than $11 million in bonuses for the fiscal year that ended March 31 -- up 18 percent from last year.

The company paid Raymond A. "Chip" Mason, chairman and chief executive, a $4.8 million bonus, up 29.7 percent from last year, according to the company's proxy statement. He also was paid a salary of $295,833, up $46,670 from the previous year.

James W. Brinkley, president of the company's brokerage subsidiary, Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc., was paid a bonus of $2.3 million, up 39.3 percent from the previous year, on top of $247,913 in salary.

Richard J. Himelfarb, head of corporate and real estate finance activities for the Baltimore-based company, was paid $1.4 million in bonus, down from the $1.45 million bonus he was paid a year earlier. He was paid a salary of $229,170.

The bonuses are set by Legg's compensation committee, which bases them on how well the company performs that year.

"It was a terrific year, and a record, and the compensation reflects those factors," said F. Barry Bilson, senior vice president of finance at Legg.

Legg's revenue, earnings and earnings per share rose to record levels for the fiscal year. The company made $89.3 million, up 17.4 percent from the previous year.

Amy S. Butte, an analyst at New York-based Bear, Stearns & Co., would not comment on Mason's bonus but said Mason is "quite respected in the industry for the business that he has developed and the foresight that he has had in developing the asset business."

The total bonuses to the executives represent about 7 percent of Legg's pre-tax income, the proxy stated. About 43 percent of the total bonus money in the pool was given to Mason for his "significant personal contributions to the business and his leadership in building the company's revenues, earnings and capital position," according to the proxy.

Mason also received 80,000 shares of restricted stock awards, which had a value of $2.7 million on March 31. The shares vest in 25 percent annual increments starting Dec. 8, 1999.

On Dec. 8, 1998, the company lent Mason $3.4 million to buy 120,000 shares of Legg stock, the proxy said. The loan is secured by the shares and carries an interest rate of 4.47 percent. The principal amount is due on June 8, 2006, when the loan matures.

Other top executives at Legg who received bonuses included Edward A. Taber III, head of the company's investment management activities, and Robert A. Frank, director of research and co-head of Legg Mason Wood Walker's capital markets committee.

Taber was paid a bonus of $1.35 million, up 3.8 percent; Frank was paid $1.33 million, down from $1.35 million the prior year.

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