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Obama Picks Ex-Kennedy Aide to Oversee Executive Pay

The White House said Wednesday that Kenneth Feinberg will assume the role of an administration “pay czar— who will set the salaries of the 100 highest paid employees at seven companies receiving “extraordinary— federal assistance.Feinberg, a Washington attorney, is a mediation and dispute resolution expert who is a former chief of staff to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).“He has the jurisdiction to review for those companies receiving that exceptional assistance — to review the compensation structures and determine whether or not we believe they meet the criteria of being sound and appropriate rather than excessive,— White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. “These are practical, common-sense safeguards.—Feinberg would look to see whether executives’ pay levels were consistent with the long-term well-being of the companies, Gibbs said.Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Feinberg would look at whether the salaries account for long-term risks.“Companies should seek to pay top executives in ways that are tightly aligned with the long-term value and soundness of the firm,— he saidAmong the companies under Feinberg’s purview are Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and General Motors Corp.The administration is also getting behind “say on pay— legislation that would give shareholders more say in executive pay by allowing them to take nonbinding votes on salary levels.

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