Today, the New York Times points out in an article and interesting graphic that some of the blockers and tacklers of the banking world made quarterback money in 2009, even beating out (by several yards) perennial champion Goldman Sachs' CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
At the top of the compensation list for 2009 was Wells Fargo's CEO Johnny Unitas Stumpf, who led the San Francisco-based commercial bank to a solid year of earnings good enough to garner his taking home nearly $19 million. Other unlikely big winners were Visa's Chairman and CEO Joe Montana Saunders, MasterCard CEO and Chairman Ajay Cutler Banga, and Jefferies Group CEO Richard Todd Handler, who took home a nice $13 million.
The reason for the rise of these bankers' (and others') compensation, and for the general fall of Blankfein's and other Pro-Bowl bankers' pay packages, has to do with the fallout (think bailouts, pay czars and government slaps on the wrist) from that darn financial crisis, which said Pro-Bowlers' banks had more than a little do with creating.
An acquaintance of mine is an ex-NFL wide receiver who played nine seasons in the league. He didn't win any rings, didn't play in any Pro Bowls, but for a 5'9" 175-pound guy who was never the fastest on the block, he had a good career (and great hands). After he retired from the league, he went into banking. Trading, specifically. I remember when I asked him about the differences between working as an NFL wide receiver and a Wall Street trader, he told me that both jobs were challenging, demanding and extremely competitive, but, of course, trading was a little easier on the knees, neck and skull. And when I asked him how much money he was making as a trader, his eyes lit up and he said, "Quarterback money."