For Executive Compensation Advice, JPMorgan Goes to the Top

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Monday morning brought news that JPMorgan's (JPM) corporate directors are "wrestling" with how to ding top executives' compensation for a humiliating $5.5 billion trading loss "without drastically reducing the executives' take-home pay," according to the Wall Street Journal.

How to slash executive pay without paying executives less poses an obvious conundrum. But if anyone can figure it out, it will be JPMorgan's three-man Compensation & Management Development Committee. The trio, it turns out, has a great deal of firsthand experience when it comes to big pay packages.

The comp committee's chairman, Lee Raymond, is likely the most knowledgeable, having taken home a $321 million severance package from ExxonMobil in 2005, the second-largest of the last decade. That was on top of his $51.5 million annual pay for his final year on the job, a sum that was five times that of rival Chevron's CEO.

Adding further compensation experience is William Weldon, who retired from Johnson & Johnson with a $143.5 million package earlier this year, despite a tenure that included "a succession of product recalls, manufacturing problems and government inquiries," as the New York Times put it. Weldon's total pay for his last full year on the job: $26.8 million.

Rounding out the committee is NBC Universal Chief Steve Burke, who earned $23.7 million last year for running the jointly owned Comcast-GE entertainment company. That wasn't his best performance — in prior years, he's out-earned the CEO of Comcast, his boss — but at 54, he's got plenty of time to work himself into a higher pay grade.

Compared with the packages the comp committee has received, isn't Jamie Dimon's 2011 compensation of $20.8 million already punishment enough?

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