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Freddie Mac CEO got $19.8 million in 2007

Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron pocketed nearly $19.8 million in compensation last year, according to the SEC, even as the troubled mortgage company's stock lost half its value.
Image: Richard Syron
Richard Syron, chairman and CEO of Freddie MacStephan Savoia / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

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 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. This year, he is guaranteed to get $8.8 million in stock grants regardless of performance.

For 2007, Syron received a $1.2 million 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 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.

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

If 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 Associated Press calculations of total pay include executives' salary, bonus, incentives, perks, the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year and above-market returns on deferred compensation. The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits and sometimes differ from the totals released by the companies.

The news of 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.

The lenders hold or guarantee $5.3 trillion of mortgage debt, about half the outstanding mortgages in the U.S. Experts agree the sustainability of Freddie and Fannie is key to helping prevent the already beleaguered real estate market from getting worse.

Shares of Freddie rose 87 cents, or 10 percent, to $9.20 in late afternoon trading. Fannie's stock rose $2.64, or 24 percent, to $13.57.