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American Express CEO Received $28.5 Million in 2012

03/08/2013 | 05:46pm US/Eastern

American Express Co. (>> American Express Company) said Chairman and Chief Executive Ken Chenault received $28.5 million in 2012, an increase of 23.7% over the prior year.

Mr. Chenault's compensation included a base salary of $2 million, a $4 million bonus, stock awards valued at $18.9 million, option awards valued at $2.2 million and other payments, according to the company's annual proxy filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In 2011, Mr. Chenault received $23 million, including $2 million in salary, a $2 million bonus, $15.3 million in stock awards and $2.2 million in option awards.

The calculation was based on the SEC's reporting guidelines for executive compensation, which may reflect awards made in prior years.

By the company's own measure, which shows compensation for 2012 based on decisions made in January 2013, Mr. Chenault received $22 million, down from $24 million a year earlier. About 73% of Mr. Chenault's pay is deferred, the company said.

In determining Mr. Chenault's compensation for 2012, the company said its board's compensation and benefits committee considered the impact of settlements American Express reached last year with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other banking regulators over its card practices.

American Express agreed in October to pay $112.5 million, including $85 million in customer refunds, tied to allegations that it engaged in misleading marketing for rewards programs, inappropriate collections practices and other activities.

The company in January said it had identified additional billings issues that would result in $153 million more in customer refunds.

American Express is the largest credit-card lender based on spending and has enjoyed the lowest loss rates in the industry thanks to its focus on customers who use their cards frequently but pay their balances off in full. It's one of the few credit-card lenders experiencing consistent loan growth, though it's less dependent on revolving loan balances for revenue than its competitors because it generates more of its top line from merchant fees.

The company's revenue increased 5% to $31.58 billion last year while profit fell 9% to $4.48 billion as expenses increased 6% to $23.14 billion. In an effort to broaden its customer base, the company has rolled out prepaid cards, which don't require a credit check, that are sold in stores including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (>> Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) and Target Corp. (>> Target Corporation). The company has also struck partnerships with social-media companies like Facebook Inc. (>> Facebook Inc) and Twitter that allow cardholders to receive merchant deals on their websites.

In January, American Express announced plans to lay off 5,400 employees, mainly in its travel-services business, as it repositions the unit to better compete for customers online.

Write to Andrew R. Johnson at andrew.r.johnson@dowjones.com

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