Marsh & McLennan CEO’s Compensation Pegged at $8.7 Million

Michael G. Cherkasky, president and chief executive of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc., the nation’s largest insurance brokerage, received compensation valued at $8.7 million last year, according to a regulatory filing last Friday.

Cherkasky received $1 million in salary, $2.65 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation and $45,030 in “other” compensation, mainly company contributions to his retirement plan.

He also was awarded stock and options valued at $5 million when they were granted.

The Associated Press calculations of total pay include executives’ salary, bonus, incentives, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year. The calculations don’t include changes in the present value of pension benefits and sometimes differ from the totals released by the companies.

Cherkasky became CEO of the New York-based insurance brokerage in October 2004 after the company ousted Jeffrey W. Greenberg from the posts of chairman and chief executive amid a government probe into bid rigging and price fixing. As part of its settlement to end the probe, Marsh & McLennan banned special commissions to encourage sales. The company has been struggling since to regain its profitability, with Cherkasky saying in recent months that business has stabilized.

Before becoming CEO, Cherkasky, 57, had been the head of Marsh Inc., the company’s risk and insurance services unit.

The proxy — released in advance of the company’s annual meeting on May 17 — showed that Cherkasky wasn’t the highest paid executive at the company last year.

Charles E. Haldeman, president and chief executive of the Boston-based Putnam Investments division, received compensation valued at $22.5 million in 2006. It included a salary of $900,000; non-equity incentive plan compensation of $6.5 million; “other” compensation of $433,418, most for use of company-provided aircraft; and stock and options valued at $14.7 million when they were awarded.

Marsh announced in February that it was selling its Putnam Investments division to a Canadian financial services company for $3.9 billion in cash.