Simon execs celebrate pandemic’s end by ending pay cuts

Earlier cuts have minimal impact with salaries paid back in full

Simon Property Group CEO David Simon
Simon Property Group CEO David Simon

The first Covid-19 vaccines are being distributed across the United States, and Simon Property Group is celebrating by reinstating its executives’ pay.

At the start of the pandemic in March, executives for the country’s largest mall operator took major pay cuts, reducing their salaries between 25 and 100 percent. CEO David Simon reduced his base pay to zero.

But those cuts were only temporary: On Dec. 9, the compensation committee of the company unanimously approved reinstating the annual base salaries of the executive officers, according to SEC filings.

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What’s more, the executives will receive the difference between what should have been paid pre-cut and what was paid throughout the year, meaning that no compensation will be lost as a result of the pandemic — which is actually accelerating across much of the country, even as the first vaccine shots are administered.

That means Simon will go back to his salary of $1,250,000. Other affected by the reinstatement include General Counsel and Secretary Steven Fivel, whose salary is $650,000; Chief Administrative Officer John Rulli, who makes $650,000; Executive Vice President Brian McDade, who makes $500,000; and Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary Alexander Snyder, whose salary is $445,000.

A representative for Simon Property Group did not respond prior to publication. The reinstatements will take place Dec. 19.

Simon wasn’t the only company whose executives took pay cuts because of the pandemic: At Vornado Realty Trust, chairman Steve Roth halved his salary, while Bob Sulentic at CBRE also gave up his pay entirely. But base pay often represents a small chunk of an executive’s total compensation. Simon’s 100 percent salary cut is about 12 percent of the $10.4 million he earned in 2019, for example.

Simon has had a rough few quarters as foot traffic in malls took a big hit because of the pandemic. The company’s net income fell to $254.2 million during the second quarter from $495.3 million over the same period in 2019. In the third quarter, it once again plummeted to just $145.9 million.