- The Washington Times - Friday, April 17, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - XTO Energy Inc.’s chief executive earned $53.5 million in 2008, down 5 percent from the year before, according to an Associated Press calculation of figures disclosed in a regulatory filing made Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bob Simpson _ who served as CEO of the oil and gas exploration company until Dec. 1, 2008, when he was replaced by Keith Hutton _ was given a compensation package of $56.6 million in 2007.

Simpson’s salary rose 24 percent to $1.6 million in 2008. The drop in his total compensation was largely because his bonus slipped to $30 million from the $35.5 million he received in 2007.

Simpson, 60, also received options and stock awards valued at $21.5 million on the dates they were granted. In 2007, he received similar awards which were valued at $19.5 million when he received them.

Simpson also received $376,127 in perks in 2008, which includes $175,800 related to tax services, $65,685 for use of a corporate jet and more than $60,000 in a car allowance and related vehicle expenses.

Simpson, who founded Fort Worth, Texas-based XTO Energy, has served as CEO or held similar positions from 1986 until December 2008, the company said in its filing. Currently he is the company’s chairman.

Hutton, who previously served as XTO’s president, replaced Simpson as CEO on Dec. 1, 2008. According XTO’s filing, Hutton earned $21.9 million in 2008 compensation. Hutton received a salary of $941,674 and a $5.3 million bonus. XTO also gave Hutton options and stock awards valued at $15.5 million on the dates they were granted.

Hutton also got $203,048 in perks, including $104,153 for use of the corporate jet, $53,919 in a car allowance and vehicle expenses and $42,431 in life insurance premium payments.

The Associated Press formula is designed to isolate the value the company’s board placed on the executive’s total compensation package during the past fiscal year. It includes salary, bonus, performance-related bonuses, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

The calculations don’t include changes in the present value of pension benefits, and they sometimes differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which reflect the size of the accounting charge taken for the executive’s compensation in the previous fiscal year.

In 2008, XTO’s earnings rose to $1.91 billion, or $3.56 per share, from $1.69 billion, or $3.53 per share, the year before. Excluding items, the company recorded adjusted income of $3.62 per share in 2008. Revenue for the year rose 40 percent to $7.7 billion.

Energy stocks took a beating in the second half of 2008 as the global economic downturn worsened and the price of crude oil plunged from its summer peak. XTO erased all the gains it saw during the crude oil rally in the first half of the year, and over the whole year shed more than 30 percent of its stock value to close the year at $35.27.

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