BB&T dangles promise of bonus payments to top execs if they stay

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BB&T really wants some of its lead executives to hang around for a bit longer as it prepares to combine with SunTrust Banks.

The $228 billion-asset BB&T will pay bonuses to four top executives provided certain conditions are met, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week. The all-cash “synergy incentive awards” are “designed to promote retention and to incentivize efforts to consummate and achieve the anticipated benefits of the proposed Merger,” BB&T said in the filing.

Daryl Bible, the chief financial officer, will receive a $3.1 million bonus, according to the plan. BB&T will pay $2.6 million to Donna Goodrich, its treasurer. Christopher Henson, chief operating officer, is slated to receive $4.2 million. And the company will pay $3.1 million to Chief Risk Officer Clarke Starnes.

The bonuses, reported Tuesday by the Winston-Salem Journal, are contingent on the merger being completed and the executives remaining with BB&T through the date of closing, which is expected late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter. The payments have a vesting schedule, based on whether the executives remain with BB&T through certain key dates in the post-merger integration period, such as the conversion of the combined bank’s operations systems.

SunTrust disclosed a bonus plan for executives in an April securities filing. SunTrust agreed to pay cash-and-stock bonuses totaling $4.8 million to Hugh Cummins, co-chief operating officer, and $2.9 million to Scott Case, chief information officer.

Both BB&T and SunTrust previously vowed to retain employees through incentive packages in an effort to stop them from bolting for rival banks. Some competitors, including First Horizon National in Memphis, Tenn., have established special task forces to recruit workers from the merging banks.

Separately, on Wednesday, BB&T, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., and SunTrust, based in Atlatna, promised to invest more in their current hometowns as they plan to move their new headquarters to Charlotte, N.C. Each bank will double the size of its donations to charities located in its local area over the next three years. The companies have said they plan to keep major operations in both Atlanta and Winston-Salem following the merger.

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