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Blankenship's pay fell 48 percent in 2010, analysis shows

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Retired Massey Energy Co. chief Don Blankenship's total compensation fell 48 percent in 2010 as he tried to right the struggling company following the nation's deadliest coal mine explosion in decades, an Associated Press analysis of a regulatory filing shows.

Blankenship earned just over $9 million in total compensation last year, compared with $17.3 million in 2009.

The 2010 figure doesn't include the $12 million retirement package Blankenship got when he left the Richmond, Va.-based company in December. He received $2 million Dec. 31 and is due to get the rest July 1.

Blankenship resigned amid criticism and investigations after the April 5, 2010, explosion at Massey's Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, which killed 29 miners.

Blankenship's replacement, Baxter Phillips, took over in early December, but isn't expected to hold the job for long. Phillips is leaving the top spot when Massey's $7.1 billion takeover by rival Alpha Natural Resources closes this summer.

Massey made big changes in Blankenship's pay in 2010. The company cut his non-equity incentive compensation to $7.4 million, a 36 percent decrease from the $11.5 million he received in 2009.

The company also awarded Blankenship no stock for 2010. In 2009, he was awarded stock valued at $3.86 million at the time it was granted.

Blankenship's salary dipped 4 percent to $900,000 last year, from $933,369 in 2009. His other compensation decreased 25 percent to $459,437, from $609,875. The bulk of his other income -- $382,439 -- covered perks including company cars, auto insurance and personal use of company aircraft, which Massey valued at $179,097.

The Associated Press formula calculates an executive's total compensation during the last fiscal year by adding salary, bonuses, perks, above-market interest the company pays on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock and stock options awarded during the year.

The AP formula does not count changes in the present value of pension benefits. That makes the AP total slightly different in most cases from the total reported by companies to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The value that a company assigned to an executive's stock and option awards for 2010 was the present value of what the company expected the awards to be worth to the executive over time. Companies use one of several formulas to calculate that value. However, the number is just an estimate, and what an executive ultimately receives will depend on the performance of the company's stock in the years after the awards are granted. Most stock compensation programs require an executive to wait a specified amount of time to receive shares or exercise options.


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