Image: Stanley O'Neal
Louis Lanzano  /  AP
Stanley O'Neal, Chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch & Co., received $46.4 million in 2006.
updated 3/19/2007 6:57:23 PM ET 2007-03-19T22:57:23

Merrill Lynch & Co. Chief Executive E. Stanley O’Neal received total compensation for 2006 that the company valued at $46.4 million, according to a regulatory filing.

O’Neal received a salary of $700,000 and a bonus of $18.5 million.

O’Neal also received restricted stock valued at $26.8 million, which was actually granted on Jan. 22, 2007. The stock grant amount represents the dollar value of the portion of the 2006 annual incentive compensation delivered as restricted stock.

He received an additional $375,298 in “other” compensation, including cars and trained security drivers for him and his family.

The Associated Press’ calculations of total pay include executives’ salary, bonus, incentives, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year. The calculations do not include changes in the present value of pension benefits.

In its review, the company’s compensation committee said Merrill Lynch met or exceeded all its financial targets for 2006, and all strategic and leadership objectives were met “with distinction.” Among the achievements the committee highlighted were a 26 percent rise in net revenue to $32.7 billion and a strengthened company brand in Europe.

O’Neal, 55, took the top spot at Merrill Lynch in December 2002, replacing longtime CEO David Komansky. Since then, O’Neal eliminated 20,000 jobs in a bid to cut costs and improve profit margins. He also began acquiring companies in areas where Merrill had been lagging, such as commodities and bond trading.

Also in its proxy filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Merrill Lynch said a shareholder is proposing that stockholders vote each year to ratify the compensation of the firm’s top executives. The shareholder, AFSCME Employees Pension Plan, said an annual referendum would help Merrill Lynch understand shareholders’ views of executive compensation.

The company urged shareholders to vote against the proposal, saying it pays executives based on performance. Shareholders rejected a similar proposal the prior year, the company said.

The investment firm disclosed in its proxy statement that O’Neal would receive an estimated $251.5 million if he were terminated without cause or resigned for good reason following a change in control of the company. The sum includes $221.8 million in accelerated stock-based compensation, $29.5 million in change-in-control severance payments and $116,609 in payments for retirement and insurance benefits.

Merrill Lynch shares rose 1.88 percent to close at $81.40 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has ranged between $64.58 and $98.68 over the past year.

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