Lawrence Coss, the nation's best-paid chief executive in 1996, will return millions of dollars' worth of stock to Green Tree Financial Corp. now that the manufactured-home lender has restated earnings for that year.

Green Tree reduced its 1996 net to $184.7 million, from $308.7 million, saying its securities portfolio had been overvalued by $200 million. Mr. Coss' $103 million of compensation in 1996 included a performance-based bonus, and the company said the bonus would be adjusted in line with the reduction in earnings.

Pressure on Mr. Coss to reduce his widely publicized compensation package has been mounting since November, when the securities problems first came to light.

Green Tree recorded a $17.3 million net loss for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 1997. It also said it was taking a $40 million charge, in addition to a $150 million charge announced Nov. 14, to cover poorly performing securitized loans.

Piper Jaffray analyst Jeff Evanson said the company's ability to raise capital will be significantly reduced.

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