Magazine article American Banker

Big Money for Top Crestar Execs in SunTrust Deal

Magazine article American Banker

Big Money for Top Crestar Execs in SunTrust Deal

Article excerpt

By CAREY GILLAM SunTrust Banks Inc. plans to pay Crestar Financial Corp.'s two top executives more than $5.6 million in combined salaries and bonuses after it buys Crestar next month, according to a regulatory filing.

Severance packages for another 22 Crestar executives are valued at $20 million, SunTrust disclosed in a proxy mailing to shareholders last week. Stockholders are to vote on SunTrust's planned $7.5 billion acquisition of Crestar Dec. 23.

The proxy said that Atlanta-based SunTrust has negotiated a two-year employment agreement with Richard G. Tilghman, Crestar's chairman and chief executive officer. After the merger, Mr. Tilghman would be vice chairman of SunTrust's board and CEO of the Crestar unit.

Mr. Tilghman would earn $900,000 a year plus bonuses of about $600,000 in 1999 and $700,000 in 2000. Mr. Tilghman also is to get a grant of 60,000 shares of restricted SunTrust common stock and a 10-year option to acquire an aggregate of 180,000 shares.

The compensation would be in line with what Mr. Tilghman has been making at Crestar, where he earned salary and bonus worth more than $1.3 million in 1996 and in 1997.

Peyton N. Green, an analyst at Sterne, Agee & Leach, said the size of Mr. Tilghman's post-merger compensation is an indication that SunTrust is committed to minimizing disruption in the transition.

Mr. Tilghman's base salary of $900,000 puts him in the top pay ranks of SunTrust executives. SunTrust's recently retired chairman, James B. …

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