Sun Life CEO takes 42-per-cent pay cut

CEO gave up bonus in light of poorer-than-expected financial results

In response to the continuing credit crunch and less-than-optimal financial performance, the CEO at Canada's second largest insurance provider gave up his bonus in 2009 for the second year in a row.

Sun Life Financial CEO Donald Stewart saw his total compensation decrease by 42 per cent in 2009 compared to 2008 — $3.8 million down from $6.5 million.

Sun Life reported quarterly profit in February that was below analyst expectations, even though it was double the figure for the same time the year before.

In light of these results, Stewart recommended to the board that he forgo the annual incentive plan payment, said the company.

Stewart opted to take only half his typical long-term incentive grant, taking options but forgoing shares.

"The challenging economic environment that continued throughout 2009 had a negative impact on our financial results," said Sun Life. "Notwithstanding solid individual performance, our 2009 performance resulted in our named executive officers earning compensation that was below target."

In contrast, Manulife Financial paid rookie chief executive Donald Guloien $9.7 million in 2009, a year in which North America's largest life insurer cut its dividend as it struggled to right itself after the financial crisis.

Manulife's board of directors said that Guloien, who took the helm last May, had done "an excellent job in extraordinary circumstances" despite making moves that sent the company's shares down and annoyed investors.


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