Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AMEX Management Fleecing Shaeholders?

American Express (AXP-$12.92) warned yesterday that February delinquencies advanced to 8.7% from 7.3% in December, as 5.3% of its credit-card loans are now at least 30 days late, up from 4.7% in December. One might be forgiven for mistakenly concluding that this announcement contained typo errors, however, given the generous bonus payouts to senior management of the credit card provider, according to the 2008 Proxy Filing:

Chairman and Chief Executive Ken Chenault took home incentive compensation and perquisites/ other benefits totaling $6.1 million and $1.2 million; Vice-Chairman Edward Gilligan received cash bonuses and perks totaling $4.6 million and $4.3 million; and, the Board rewarded President Alfred Kelly with a $4.1 million cash bonus.

The share price of AMEX tumbled 70 percent in the past year, reflecting the deteriorating performance in the company’s credit loan portfolio. Amid this backdrop, the only line item that seems justified in the executive compensation table was the $200,898 in ‘home security’ services provided to Chenault in 2008, up from $60,716 in 2006.

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

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