CEO Richard Handler Forgoes $2.2 Million Bonus as Jefferies Fails to Meet Targets

Handler also didn’t take a bonus for 2011.

Richard Handler

At a time when many top executives are taking home large bonuses even though their companies are struggling, Richard Handler is setting an example.

Handler, chief executive officer of Jefferies Group LLC, turned down a cash bonus for 2014 after the investment bank fell short of performance targets and its parent company’s stock slid, Bloomberg said.

Handler, who is also CEO of the parent company Leucadia National Corp., was eligible for a $2.2 million bonus, but he recommended to the compensation committee that the payout be withheld, Leucadia said Wednesday in a regulatory filing without specifying the reason for his decision, the report said.

Brian Friedman, Leucadia’s president and the chairman of Jefferies, also told the board of directors not to give him a cash bonus for 2014, according to the filing, Bloomberg said.

The CEO’s long-term stock award was also reduced after the bank’s profits fell short of performance goals, according to the filing.

After Jefferies survived a crisis of confidence sparked by a negative analyst’s report, Handler arranged a 2013 sale to Leucadia that left him in charge of both companies. Leucadia’s stock dropped 21 percent last year, while the Standard and Poor’s 500 Financials Index rose 13 percent, the report said.

Handler also didn’t take a bonus for 2011. Jefferies paid him $19 million for the next year, which was less than the board was prepared to give him, the firm said in a regulatory filing at the time. In September 2012 the board approved $39 million in restricted stock awards for the following three years, Bloomberg said.

Handler forfeited 67, 040 shares of Leucadia in his long-term stock award, valued at $1.6 million at Tuesday’s closing price of $23.30, according to the filing. He holds more than $260 million of Leucadia’s stock, according to the report.

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