Shareholders of Lazard Ltd., Hamilton, Bermuda, today voted to approve a proposal for a new incentive compensation plan, according to spokeswoman Judi Frost Mackey. The new plan could give Bruce Wasserstein, chairman and CEO, a $90 million pay package for 2008, said Ari Yampolsky, campaign coordinator for Service Employees International Union, who spoke at the annual meeting criticizing the proposal as excessive and dilutive to shareholders, especially since Lazard stock declined 30% since the last annual meeting a year ago.
Mr. Wasserstein received about $41 million in 2007, confirmed Ms. Mackey, who couldnt confirm his pay under the compensation proposal.
RiskMetrics Group and Egan-Jones Proxy Services recommended shareholders vote against the proposal. RiskMetrics said the incentive plans formula is not transparent and is difficult to estimate the potential shareholder value transfer and dilution to shareholders. Egan-Jones also expressed concern about the potential dilutive effect of the plan.
A vote tally was not immediately available.