Goldman CEO, others get millions from options

Goldman Sachs Group Inc on Friday said several top company officials, including Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, exercised stock options this week and obtained millions of dollars of profits by selling the resulting shares, regulatory filings show.

Blankfein exercised 90,681 stock options at a strike price of $82.875, and obtained a $6.09 million gross profit by selling the resulting shares on Wednesday at prices between $148.97 to $152.00.

In similar options exercises and sales, President Gary Cohn exercised 73,653 options and had a $4.95 million profit, Chief Financial Officer David Viniar exercised 67,326 options and had a $4.52 million profit, and General Counsel Gregory Palm exercised 47,895 options and had a $3.22 million profit.

Goldman said the options were granted in November 2000 and scheduled to expire this November. It disclosed the transactions in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Goldman is Wall Street's most profitable bank. It earned just $453 million in its latest quarter, however, because it paid $550 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fraud lawsuit and $600 million to its City of London bankers because of a special UK bonus tax.

Shares of Goldman closed Friday down $1.34, or 0.9 percent, at $148.08 on the New York Stock Exchange.

[Source: Reuters, New York, 13Aug10]

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