Citigroup CEO scores a 48% raise to $23 million

Board touts Corbat's 'exceptional leadership'

By MATT EGAN
Mario Tama/Getty Images

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Citigroup boss Michael Corbat just got a huge raise.

Corbat scored $23 million in total pay last year, the bank said on Friday. That's a cool 48 percent above what he made in 2016.

The pay hike underlines Citi's success in bouncing back from its near-death experience during the 2008 financial crisis.

Citi's board of directors said it considered the bank's "strong operating performance," Corbat's "exceptional leadership" and "market levels of pay for the CEO role at peer institutions."

Corbat's compensation consists of $1.5 million in base salary and $21.5 million in incentives, including cash, deferred stock and restricted shares.

Big bank stocks enjoyed a strong year as Wall Street placed wagers on faster growth, higher interest rates and lighter regulation. Citi stock soared 26 percent last year and hit a nine-year high last month.

Citi lost $6.2 billion in 2017, but the red ink was driven by short-term losses triggered by the tax law. Excluding the impact of the tax law, Citi's profit spiked to $15.8 billion, compared with $1 billion in 2016.

It's a dramatic difference from a decade ago, when massive losses on toxic mortgages nearly wiped Citi out. The bank required bailouts and ultimately received $476 billion in cash and guarantees from the federal government, according to a 2011 Congressional Oversight Panel report.

But Citi has since become healthy enough to reward shareholders with cash — lots of it. Among Corbat's accomplishments, Citi's board noted that the bank returned more than $17 billion to shareholders through stock buybacks and dividends, up 60 percent from 2016.

Corbat's big pay raise allowed him to quickly catch up to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Goldman Sachs said on Thursday that his pay was $24 million for 2017, up 9 percent from 2016.

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