Leaving Goldman Sachs to work for the government has always been a lucrative career move: eight years ago, it allowed former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to sell $500 million in Goldman stock tax free, and now its the turn of Gary Cohn, Goldman's former COO and president, who is leaving to join Trump's cabinet, who is departing with an "accelerated" gift.
According to Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs lifted restrictions or accelerated delivery on about $123.7 million in stock and cash awards previously awarded to Gary Cohn, 56, who left last month to become President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser. Cohn was given $20 million in pay for 2016, including $18.15 million in variable compensation and a $1.85 million salary, the New York-based bank said in a regulatory filing Tuesday.
That wasn't all: also on Monday, the bank handed over 96,572 restricted shares that were outstanding from earlier stock awards scheduled to be delivered over time. It also lifted selling restrictions on 99,909 shares that Cohn had already earned but was unable to sell. Combined, they were worth $45.9 million based on Tuesday’s closing price of $233.68 a share. About $12.8 million in additional restricted stock was included in his 2016 compensation. Cohn didn’t receive all of the restricted stock because Goldman Sachs withheld an unspecified portion of it for taxes, according to the filing.
That's not all:
He also got $47 million to settle outstanding awards he received each year since 2011 under the bank’s long-term incentive program. He also received an $18 million cash payment in exchange for outstanding performance shares, according to the filing.
Cohn left Goldman Sachs last month after agreeing to join the Trump administration as head of the National Economic Council. He started at Goldman Sachs in 1990, becoming co-president in 2006, and then sole president. He was long seen as the heir apparent to Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein.
And since Cohn will likely vacate the post within a year or two, it means that the former COO gets to liquidate his stock holdings at a price near all time highs, without having to wait for it to vest like any other mere mortal Goldmanites. It is still unclear if he will have to pay any tax on the proceeds.