General Electric’s (GE) general counsel has been named as the highest-paid in-house lawyer in the US, after pocketing a staggering $4.365m (£2.449m) in 2003.
According to the latest statistics, compiled by industry magazine Corporate Counsel, Benjamin Heineman’s impressive remuneration package included bonuses totalling $2.89m (£1.62m), which is an 11 per cent increase on his 2002 deal. He also pocketed an extra $3,597,750 (£1,815,860) in realised stock. The former Sidley & Austin (now Sidley Austin Brown & Wood) man has enlisted a slew of top talent from several prestigious US firms in his 17 years with GE, and is widely regarded as having improved the standard of in-house lawyering.
One of the key findings of the 2003 survey was the realisation of stock options. According to Corporate Counsel: “Chief legal officers doubled their cash-outs between 2002 and 2003, to $95m [£53.3m], with one general counsel, Boston Scientific Corporation’s Paul Sandman, reaping nearly $20m [£11.2m].”
Heineman’s salary increase of 9 per cent was three times the average for the top 100 general counsels in 2003, while the average annual bonus was upped by 7 per cent to $605,773 (£339,808).
General counsel for communications services topped the list, earning more than any other industry, with an average compensation package of $1.4m (£785,300) in the last fiscal year.
|US general counsel salaries for 2003|
|General counsel||Company||Salary exc bonus ($)|
|Benjamin Heineman Jr||General Electric Company||1,475,000|
|James Evans||American Financial Group||990,000|
|Thomas Gottschalk||General Motors Corporation||929,167|
|Charles Wall||Altria Group||873,154|
|William Barr||Verizon Communications||750,000|
|James Ellis||SBC Communications||744,500|
|Roger Fine||Johnson & Johnson||730,577|
|John McGoldrick||Bristol-Myers Squibb Company||719,996|
|Source: Corporate Counsel|