- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2009

General Electric Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt declined a 2008 bonus and millions of dollars in performance awards, saying Wednesday that the company’s falling profits and plummeting share price prompted him to forgo the payments.

The Fairfield, Conn.-based conglomerate, which makes everything from locomotives to household appliances, said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Mr. Immelt will not receive his $11.7 million long-term performance award. Mr. Immelt received no bonus and his base salary of $3.3 million was flat with his 2007 paycheck. In 2007, GE paid Mr. Immelt a $5.8 million bonus.

The pay decisions, which the board made at Mr. Immelt’s request, come after a painful year for GE as the economy sank into a deeper recession and the financial crisis intensified. Earnings dropped 22 percent, company profit targets were missed, a restructuring of GE’s lending unit began, and shares lost more than half their value.

“Earnings came in well below where we expected. The broad equity markets, and GE’s stock price, declined significantly in 2008. In these circumstances, I recommended to GE’s board of directors that I not receive a bonus for 2008,” Mr. Immelt said.

While Mr. Immelt was declining his bonus, Procter & Gamble Co., the world’s largest consumer-products maker, said it gave Chairman and Chief Executive A.G. Lafley a $3.5 million bonus as thanks for his role in bringing Gillette Co. into the fold.

P&G; acquired Gillette, which is best known for its shaving products, in 2005 for $57 billion. The deal added Gillette’s razors, Duracell batteries, Oral-B tooth care and other products to P&G;’s household portfolio, which includes Tide detergent and Pampers diapers.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, the Cincinnati-based company said the special equity award was because Mr. Lafley had the foresight to go after Gillette and helped during the takeover and integration of the company into P&G;’s stable of brands.

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