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Richard Grasso

Richard Grasso was chairman and chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange from 1995 to 2003, the culmination of a career that began in 1968 when Grasso was hired by the Exchange as a floor clerk. After the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks, Grasso became the reassuring public face of the Exchange, and was much commended for his role in helping restart operations.

In September 2003 it was revealed that Grasso had been given a deferred compensation pay package worth almost $140 million. This caused immediate controversy, as the hand-picked compensation committee consisted mainly of representatives from NYSE-listed companies over which Grasso had regulatory authority as head of the Exchange.

Following criticism of the deal from SEC chairman William H. Donaldson and several pension fund heads (who control some of the largest pools of equity investment capital in the U.S.), the Exchange board met and in 13 to 7 vote asked Grasso to leave. On September 17, 2003, Grasso stepped down.

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