Top Lehman two take home almost $100m

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Richard Fuld, chairman and chief executive of Lehman Brothers, who received the highest declared cash bonus on Wall Street last year took home almost $40m (€30.5m) after exercising $13.9m worth of share options. Cashing in share options lifted the take-home package of Joseph Gregory, Lehman's chief operating officer, to more than $50m.

Gregory exercised $31.5m in share options last year on top of his $20.5m salary package which included a $9m bonus.

The options are disclosed in Lehman's proxy statement filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last night and show Fuld retains options valued at $63.2m at today's Lehman share price.

Fuld received a total $27m salary package last year: a cash bonus of $10.25m, basic salary of $750,000, restricted stock units of $10.3m and $4.95m of options.

The package was 36% higher than the $19.8m he received in 2003, and came as the bank reported record annual net revenues, net income and earnings per share in the twelve months to the end of last November.

Stan O'Neal, chief executive of Merrill Lynch and Hank Paulson, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, both received higher bonuses than Fuld, but elected to take them in stock.

Philip Purcell, chairman and chief executive of rival Morgan Stanley, received a cash bonus of $7.4m as part of his $22m salary package last year.