Schwarzman Took 99% Pay Cut in 2008

(Reuters) – Blackstone Group LP Co-founder and Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman’s pay fell 99 percent in 2008, a year that saw the private-equity firm post a $1.33 billion loss.

Schwarzman — who had celebrated his 60th birthday with a $3 million party in 2007 — did not receive any cash compensation for 2008 other than a base salary of $350,000.

Co-founder Peter Peterson, a former U.S. secretary of commerce who retired from Blackstone last year, also took a more than 99 percent pay cut and received a base salary of $350,000 for the year, according to a regulatory filing.

Cash compensation of President and Chief Operating Officer Hamilton James, Vice Chairman Tomilson Hill and former Chief Financial Officer Michael Puglisi declined by 73 percent, 67 percent and 76 percent, respectively.

Blackstone has been hammered by the financial crisis and shutdown of the credit markets. A revival in leverage is vital for the New York-based firm to be able to do deals of any significant scale and sell off current investments.

Blackstone shares have fallen to a fraction of their June 2007 initial public offering price of $31 as the financial crisis hit and access to leverage shrank. The shares closed at $4.77 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri in Bangalore; Editing by Himani Sarkar)