Pension Execs Join Grasso Resignation Call

September 16, 2003 ( - The drumbeat of calls for the resignation of beleaguered New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Chairman Richard Grasso got significantly louder Tuesday as leaders of three powerful public pension funds got behind the effort.

Backing the emerging dump Grasso movement were California State Treasurer Phil Angelides, one of the most powerful board members at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS); New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, trustee of the Empire State’s $90-billion pension fund; and Jack Ehnes, chief executive officer of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), according to news reports.

Angelides and CalPERS chairman Sean Harrigan told a news conference that they had “deep concern” about Grasso’s $139.5-million compensation package and called for the package to be revised and for the NYSE executive to step down.   The size of the Grasso package hurts ongoing efforts to reform corporate governance.   “It is fundamentally important that Grasso resign, so the New York Stock Exchange can restore its moral authority,” Angelides told reporters.


Later Tuesday, Hevesi joined the call, saying Grasso has “lost the ability to implement needed reforms at the NYSE and to regulate and monitor its members and listed companies. While in many ways he has done an excellent job, his effectiveness on the key issues of fighting corporate corruption and improving corporate governance has been shattered.”

Criticism of Grasso’s lavish payout of savings and accrued benefits has swelled since it was disclosed last month. Grasso foreswore another $48 million in compensation in a bid to quell the furor last week, but the news of additional money promised him only fed the outcry.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission demanded the exchange explain how Grasso’s compensation was determined and is reviewing the NYSE’s response.