NYSE chief could get bigger payday

The company that owns the New York Stock Exchange, which failed earlier this year in its attempt to merge with a German exchange operator, said Tuesday it will give its CEO a chance at a bigger pay package.

NYSE Euronext said CEO Duncan Niederauer will be eligible for up to $6 million in restricted stock awards tied to company performance. Last year, similar awards were worth about $2.3 million.

The company also set the target bonus for Niederauer at $5 million this year. That can include both cash and stock. Last year, he got $5.5 million. Niederauer’s base salary will probably remain at $1 million as it has for the past several years.

The company is doubling his potential severance package. It will be two times the combination of his salary and target bonus. Niederauer agreed to give up a provision under which the company would have paid the taxes on the severance package.

The change, disclosed in a regulatory filing, signals the board of directors’ support for Niederauer about two months after European regulators blocked NYSE Euronext’s bid to merge with Deutsche Boerse, citing antitrust concerns.

NYSE Euronext said it made the pay change “to retain and incentivize our high-performing CEO at a critical juncture.”

It could also be an attempt for NYSE Euronext to show shareholders that it plans to tie CEO pay more closely to the company’s performance, a cause often pushed for by shareholder-rights activists.

Niederauer, 52, is a former Goldman Sachs partner. He has run NYSE Euronext since December 2007.

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