Goldman Sachs CEO backs new pay guidelines
WASHINGTON — The chief executive of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. yesterday called for new standards on how Wall Street executives are compensated, and new regulation of large hedge funds and private equity funds.
Lloyd Blankfein, who received compensation valued at nearly $43 million last year, said lessons from the financial crisis include the need to "apply basic standards to how we compensate people in our industry."
He suggested a handful of guidelines, including only junior employees being paid mostly in cash and that the percentage of pay awarded as company stock increase significantly along with a worker's total compensation.
CEOS' PESSIMISM DRIVES INDEX DOWNNEW YORK — In a sign of the pessimism gripping corporate America, an index tracking the outlook of chief executives of the country's biggest companies dropped to its lowest level since the survey began in 2002.
The Business Roundtable index of CEOs' six-month forecast fell to -5 in March from 16.5 in November. An index reading of 50 or lower is consistent with economic contraction, while a reading of 50 or higher is consistent with expansion.
CHANGES TO APPLE'S ITUNES TAKE EFFECTSEATTLE — The era of one-price-fits-all-songs on iTunes came to an end yesterday as Apple Inc., the Internet's dominant digital music retailer, began selling some of its most-downloaded songs for $1.29 apiece.
Apple said in January that it would end its practice of selling all individual songs for 99 cents each and begin offering three tiers: 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29.
Recording companies pick the prices, much as they did for CDs sold in stores and online. Apple also did away with copy-protection technology known as digital-rights management, or DRM, allowing customers to play more songs on devices other than Apple's own iPods.
ALCOA POSTS $497M LOSS IN FIRST QUARTERPITTSBURGH — Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, said yesterday it lost $497 million during the first quarter, as the global economic crisis continued to erode prices and demand for the lightweight metal.
The loss was Alcoa's second in the past two consecutive quarters. Orders for the metal, used in everything from cars and airplanes to windows and soda cans, began sliding last fall as the world economy weakened.