Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Monetizing Life's Work at North Fork Bank

A few interesting comments on the tough banking environment in today's Wall Street Hournal from John Kanas, the CEO of North Fork Bank.

Link- WSJ Subscription Required

Of even greater interest is a comment by Mr. Kanas on the $185 million payout that he is receiving as a result of the takeover of NFB by Capital One (COF.) In answer to the question of "What's in your wallet?" Mr. Kanas response was," I know how the story looks, and its an egregious amount of money."

However, he went on to defend the payouts, monetizing his life's work at a company. "It's not like I flew in here on a private jet three years ago and prettied up the company and then booted it out of here."

There is very little question that Mr. Kanas has down a superb job of transforming what was a fairly miniscule operation that literally existed only on the North Fork of Long Island into a fairly major regional bank. An operation with clean credit, high operating efficiency and superb profitability.

But Mr. Kanas is getting his entire payout tax-free as well as monetizing $48 million in stock. Looking at last year's proxy, Mr. Kanas has received a total of $30.3 million in salary, bonus, other comp and restricted stock over the last three years.

I applaud Mr. Kanas on his success and the outstanding job he has done in managing and growing this enterprise. But its not exactly like he has monetized "sweat equity." He has been paid handsomely in these last few years in my view.


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