It’s good to be Howard Lorber.
The Douglas Elliman chairman and CEO made nearly $30 million in total compensation last year from Vector Group Ltd., the brokerage’s parent company, according to an April 8 proxy statement. That’s more than three times Lorber’s total package of $9.4 million in 2013, and $9.8 million in 2012.
A look at the fine print shows that Lorber’s base salary was $3.1 million, up marginally to account for cost of living changes. But the real boost came in July, when Lorber was awarded more than one million shares of Vector stock valued at roughly $22 million.
“It’s an incentive to have me continue as CEO,” Lorber, 66, told The Real Deal on Monday afternoon. Asked if he was considering retirement, he answered: “Never a thought. I’m going to work until I can’t do it anymore.”
According to the proxy statement, Lorber received 1.05 million shares of restricted stock “to recognize past and current performance and to serve as a means of providing a meaningful incentive… to continue to serve as CEO during the next seven years, even though he is eligible to retire now.” The stock vests in seven installments, one each year through 2021, provided that Vector reaches certain earnings targets. “I’m also a stockholder and I want to do the right thing for the company,” Lorber said.
Lorber has been Vector’s president and CEO since January 2006, when he signed a three-year contract, according to the proxy. That agreement has automatic, one-year extensions. Vector Group is the parent company of New Valley LLC, which owns more than 70 percent of Douglas Elliman Realty LLC and has invested in new development projects in New York City and elsewhere.
In addition to his base pay and stock award, Lorber received other perks last year. His $363,712 in “other compensation,” includes “265,912 for personal use of corporate aircraft in 2014 and a $90,000 allowance paid for lodging and related business expenses in 2014.” Lorber also received $7,800 in matching contributions toward his 401(k) plan in 2014.
Lorber’s pension benefits are valued at $27.3 million, according to the proxy. He’s regarded as one of the more high-flying personalities in the industry, with homes at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel and The Upcoming 432 Park Avenue. In a recent interview with TRD, developer Steven Witkoff recalled Lorber in the 1970s, cruising around in a cream-colored Rolls Royce convertible with the top down smoking a cigar.
As of April 8, Lorber held a 5.1 percent stake in Vector stock, with his share valued at more than $133 million. The price of Vector shares jumped more than 30 percent in the past year.
Lorber is also the executive chairman of Nathan’s Famous, and stands to make a $25 million windfall from a special dividend that the hot dog company is issuing after its shares more than doubled over the last two years.
Last month, Lorber also joined the board of Morgans Hotel Group Co., which has made headlines locally for its fight to retain the management contract at the Mondrian Soho, following the hotel’s sale to an inventor group led by Alex Sapir.