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Morgan Stanley CEO Skipping Bonus

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BY STEPHEN BERNARD | December 19, 2007 01:00 PM EST | AP


NEW YORK — "Deeply disappointing" fourth-quarter writedowns have Morgan Stanley Chief Executive John Mack bypassing his year-end bonus _ and he is unlikely to be the only Wall Street CEO giving up tens of millions of dollars in holiday money.

Morgan Stanley said it was forced to take $9.4 billion in writedowns during its fourth fiscal quarter, which ended Nov. 30, because of bad bets on securities backed by mortgages.

"Ultimately, accountability for our results rests with me, and I believe in pay for performance, so I've told our compensation committee that I will not accept a bonus for 2007," Mack said in a statement.

Mack received a stock and option bonus in 2006 that, at the time of the award, was worth $40 million.

Top executives at Bear Stearns Cos., including Chief Executive James Cayne, may forego year-end bonuses as well, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday. Bear Stearns will report its results for the quarter Thursday morning.

Like Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns is expected to report losses and billions of dollars in writedowns for its fiscal fourth quarter.

It is not all bad news for all Wall Street executives, though. Lehman Brothers Chief Executive Richard Fuld will receive a $35 million stock award as an end-of-the-year bonus.

Lehman Brothers said last week its fourth-quarter profit was $870 million, as it was able to negate most of its $3.5 billion in writedowns through hedging.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has yet to announce how much its chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, will receive, but some reports estimate he will take home as much as $70 million.

Goldman Sachs was largely able to avoid the mortgage market mess that has plagued its competitors in recent months.

Though he will not officially receive an year-end bonus, Merrill Lynch & Co.'s new CEO, John Thain, took home a $15 million cash bonus just for taking the job. Thain took over as CEO Dec. 1.

Thain replaced Stanley O'Neal, who was forced to retire after the investment bank took nearly $8 billion in writedowns in the third quarter.

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AP Business Writer Joe Bel Bruno contributed to this report from New York.