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September 18, 2003
NYSE Chair Resigns over Compensation Controversy
Under pressure since the disclosure of his $140 million compensation package, Richard Grasso resigned as chairman of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday after losing in a vote of confidence conducted during a conference call of board members, USA Today Reports.

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Grasso came under criticism in August after the exchange revealed that it distributed to Grasso, 57, his savings account balance of $40 million, his previously accrued retirement benefit of $51.6 million and his previously earned account balance of $47.9 million relating to prior incentive awards throughout his career.

Grasso led the exchange for eight years, the newspaper reports. His term was scheduled to end in May 2007.

After the disclosure of the pay package, some politicians, pension-fund managers and traders began urging for Grasso's ouster.

"We're pleased at the swift action by Mr. Grasso. It's a great first step to create the healing we need to move forward with substantive reforms to prevent this from happening in the future to such an august institution," says Pat Macht, spokesperson for the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

The exchange's board voted 13-7 in favor of Grasso's resignation.

Some critics say that the board must take responsibility for the pay package.

"Dick Grasso was certainly culpable, but it is the board that has primary responsibility for this appalling mess," says Nell Minow, an investor activist and a critc of Grasso's reign as chair of the exchange. "The next step is to replace just about everybody on the board, most of whom were selected by Grasso."

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