“Although the board has yet to determine executive compensation, given everything we have said and done on the subject, the idea that the directors would award Lloyd Blankfein $100m, or anything close to it, beggars belief,” said the bank’s spokesman Lucas van Praag.
The rumours, circulating among bankers at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, come after the vast majority of Goldman staff learned the size of their total compensation package recently. Only a handful of top executives, whose pay must be voted on by the board, have yet to discover how much they will be paid.
Goldman said last month it had exercised “restraint” by limiting its total 2009 compensation pool to $16.2bn and capping UK partners’ pay at £1m, in response to the government’s supertax on bonuses.
Goldman’s management committee, including Blankfein, has agreed to receive discretionary bonuses in shares rather than cash to help dispel political anger over the payouts.