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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September, 2003, 02:31 GMT 03:31 UK
Should NYSE boss have quit?
Richard Grasso
New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) chairman Richard Grasso has been forced to quit his job amid public anger over his $140m pay package.

Mr Grasso has been under mounting pressure to go since details of his benefits and incentives package were revealed by the NYSE last month. Although fat cat salaries are a way of life on Wall Street, the sheer scale of Mr Grasso's deal raised questions about potential conflicts of interest. US regulators wanted to know how Mr Grasso could be paid so much by the very organisation he was meant to be regulating

Was Mr Grasso right to go? Will his resignation change the US fat cat culture?


The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

Quitting was probably the smartest move for Mr. Grasso. He showed his hand, and better to step down now, than be thrown down later.
Joshua Splinter, Houston,TX USA

Mr Grasso has an excellent track record, and I think we should afford to pay people who do their job
Raj Verma, Allentown, Pennsylvania, US
He should NOT have quit. He did not set his salary. The fat cat culture will not change until those responsible for approving salaries are confronted.
Stratis, Spring Hill, FL, USA

Mr Grasso did an admirable job, especially in those horrific days after September 11 but his salary (+ benefits) typify a society where ethics and social conscience are surpassed by greed and gluttony. Its almost shameful in a city where teachers and nurses are paid so poorly, where homeless lay hungry in the streets that one man, no matter how gifted or clever - attempt to account for such an amount.
James Hampton, New York (originally Belfast)

Mr. Grasso, should not be victimized, as it was the board who decided his pay package. He has rightfully resigned, as any respectable man would do. It is surprising that there is no public uproar against the CEO's of companies that went bankrupt. Mr. Grasso has an excellent track record, and I think we should afford to pay people who do their job, OR America should have a cap on CEO salary.
Raj Verma, Allentown, Pennsylvania, US

Mr Grasso had to go. The NYSE is a regulatory body, and one of its main functions is to stop corporate corruption, not add to it.
NYSEguy, New York, USA

Of course he had to resign - but the questions remain. What can be done to stop buddy boards and CEOs bilking the company and shareholders? Nothing so far. Apparently, he had to be paid so much "to keep him" - but the NYSE will function tomorrow without missing a beat.
Mary Kapadia, Canada

Am I right in assuming Grasso is walking away with $140 in compensation ? I didn't hear anything about him giving that up. I know he must be kicking himself for having for having returned $48 million earlier in an attempt to quench the uproar. We all should be this unlucky.....
John K, NY, NY

Among countless corporate scandals, this is just another, he took advantage of many loopholes to get rich quickly. His resignation is right, and this incident will definitely impress upon the fat cat culture if not change it.
Andrew Thill, USA
I think that Dick Grasso was incorrect to stand down. All these people who are crying foul over his pay package must realise that we live in democratic, free market economies and the opportunities to earn money such as this is open to all. All that is needed is the skill. I think that Mr Grasso's resignation will not change things because everybody seems to have a mentality of "if don't have it, then he can't have it." Ben
Brisbane, Australia

It's the best time to overhaul the entire NYSE culture. Among countless corporate scandals, this is just another, he took advantage of many loopholes to get rich quickly. His resignation is right, and this incident will definitely impress upon the fat cat culture if not change it.
Andrew Thill, USA

After $140M I would retire too.
Glenn Walker, Sydney, Canada

There are many on the trade floor who liked Grasso and what he did for the exchange but you have to understand that he was in a "public" post. It is just not acceptable if you hold a public post and receive money comparable to the private industry. While he might have done good deeds for the exchange over the years, this is one blemish that just cannot be overlooked.
Albrecht Durand, Bangalore India

Given the grossly unethical salaries of so many top executives in the face of serious questions of distributive justice, Mr. Grasso exemplified and symbolized the need for change in this capitalistic system. His resignation may help address the massive inequities here and globally, and it was the right and only ethical choice.
Tallessyn Grenfell-Lee, Cambridge, MA, USA

He should have been accompanied out the door by the entire board
Andrei Glasberg, San Francisco, USA
I don't quite agree with Mr. Grasso's pay package but I would have to say this. If someone gave you 140 million dollars would you turn it down? I wouldn't, so why should Mr. Grasso pay for something that was offered to him. I could understand the integrity of the firm, however I believe the broad of director is at fault and not Mr. Grasso
John Lee, NY,US

Richard Grasso's career was nothing short of unusual in such a fast-paced business. He is one of the few to have held the same position for such a long time. His enormous salary is the product of such a long service. The package was designed to reward longevity in a business that sees so very little of it.
Robert Gyenes, Pittsburgh, United States

He is two weeks late. No discount on his compensation and the resignation does not change his "fat cat" status. He should have been accompanied out the door by the entire board.
Andrei Glasberg, San Francisco, USA

Enron happened and nothing changed. Worldcom happened and nothing changed. Mutual Fund scandals and nothing changed. The SEC slapped a few wrists and the corporate crooks paid their fines out of petty cash. As long as the oligarchs run the country, nothing will happen except the continued larceny of the super-rich, destruction of the environment, and the farce of American democracy. Get used to it, world. It ain't never going away!
Tom Lazarus, Rochester, NY USA

It is so sad and immoral to see these executives raking in gross amounts of money while we have starvation and poverty right outside the very buildings where these appalling transactions take place.
Sector, Australia
By offering his resignation to the board, Dick Grasso has put the interests of the Exchange ahead of his own. This is right(if only politicians would act this honourably). I do wonder about the motives of those who question his remuneration package. No one ever complained during the dotcom boom when he, investors, dealers, and brokers alike were making the large sums. It appears that he is being made the political scapegoat for an institutional problem. After all, it is those that accuse him that set his compensation. Perhaps they should resign too.
Clyde Johnston, New York, USA

I think that no one deserves this amount of money unless it is justified. It is so sad and immoral to see these executives raking in gross amounts of money while we have starvation and poverty right outside the very buildings where these appalling transactions take place. Injustices in the world are all around us and it seems that those that do the most good for the world are usually impoverished themselves - take Mother Teresa for example.
Sector, Australia

A $140 million pay offer ? I think it is outrageous and it shows that executive compensation is completely out of control in the USA. The NYSE is also a small organization when compared to other companies, whose bosses get a lot less. It's good he resigned, but the people who offered this package to Mr Grasso should resign as well.
Camiel Coenen, Netherlands

Mr. Grasso should not only go, but also give that money to charity. But his exposure and expulsion will not change the culture of greed and selfishness permeating our society since the Reagan Administration.
George Kamburoff, pleasant hill, ca., USA

This is not a 'pay packet' its a Lottery win! I wouldn't mind having to resign if i had just one month of Mr Grasso's wage!! No one can justify these extortionate levels of financial reward even if the organisation that they head is a success. The key element is that it is an 'organisation' and relies on the hard work of many more people on fractions of the chief executives salary. Plainly this level of remuneration is ridiculous, and its is this, (along with the publicity), that has cost Mr Grasso his 'job'.
Colin, UK

This is ridiculous - the directors of the NYSE accepted the pay package, but are now accepting the resignation as though they were uninvolved. What seems to have been forgotten is that most of that money was not salary but long term pension rights and that a significant portion was payment for incentives. $140M is a lot of money, but it was not going to be paid in a lump sum - I am a firm believer in transparency in corporate pay, but not if it leads to witch hunts when packages exceed some kind of public tolerance; compensation is based on perceived value, in this case on behalf of the exchange members.
Adam Freeman, London, UK




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SEE ALSO:
$140m NYSE chief forced to quit
17 Sep 03  |  Business


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