- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 19, 2008

NEW YORK | Freddie Mac Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Syron pocketed nearly $19.8 million in compensation last year, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday, even though the mortgage company’s stock lost half its value in 2007.

If Mr. Syron stays at the helm of Freddie Mac through the end of next year, he will receive nearly $20 million in stock awards if the board says he has met certain goals. Of that, he is guaranteed to get $8.8 million in stock grants this year regardless of performance.

For 2007, Mr. Syron received $1.2 million in salary, a $3.45 million bonus, including $1.25 million to remain at the company, and $771,585 in other compensation. He also received stock and options valued by the company at $14.3 million at the time they were awarded.

The company last year picked up the tab for Mr. Syron’s financial planning expenses, car and driver for commuting, home security system, business-related dining and travel costs for his wife and $100,000 in legal fees from negotiating his employment contract.

Mr. Syron also received $898,444 from dividends on restricted stock and options he holds.

If Mr. Syron resigns or is fired with cause, he will owe the company $1.25 million. But if he is fired without cause, he will pocket $19.1 million.

The news of Mr. Syron’s pay package comes after the government pledged on Sunday to help provide larger credit lines for Freddie and its sister company Fannie Mae. The Treasury Department will ask Congress to allow it to buy equity stakes in the two if necessary.

The Federal Reserve also has stepped in and said it would open a special lending option to the pair.

Freddie Mac took a step toward issuing common and preferred stock to help bolster its balance sheet Friday when the Securities and Exchange Commission accepted its registration statement filed earlier in the day.

Washington-based Fannie Mae raised $7.4 billion earlier this year to strengthen its balance sheet. McLean, Va.-based Freddie Mac had indicated plans to raise $5.5 billion, but has been waiting to initiate the offerings because its stock is not yet registered with the SEC.

Shares of Freddie rose 85 cents, or 10 percent, to close at $9.18 Friday. Fannie’s stock rose $2.47, or about 23 percent, to $13.40.



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