Compass’ Reffkin gets $900K salary, $7M bonus

CEO, whose base pay was $400K last year, gives up chance for $25M in stock

Compass Changes CEO Compensation
Compass' Robert Reffkin (Compass, Getty)

Robert Reffkin is taking the bird in hand.

The Compass CEO is giving up $25 million in performance-based restricted stock unit awards in exchange for a $7 million cash bonus, according to an SEC filing.

Reffkin’s base salary for 2024 will be changed to $900,000, up from $400,000 in 2022. His 2023 salary has not been released.

The CEO will also receive a performance-based bonus next year and $2.25 million in restricted stock units, or RSUs, that vest annually over four years. He’ll get a second such grant in 2025.

RSUs have restrictions on when the shares can be sold, so their future value is unknown. Compass shares have lost 80 percent of their value since the company went public in 2021, but are up 95 percent in the past year. The brokerage has yet to report a profit.

Compass will pay $25,000 of Reffkin’s legal expenses associated with the compensation changes.

The changes are being made “with the objective of providing market-based CEO compensation,” according to the SEC filing. Compass declined to comment.

By comparison, Anywhere CEO Ryan Schneider received an $8 million equity grant last year, a $5 million cash bonus last month and has a base salary of $1 million. SEC filings state the bonus was largely attributable to his company’s settlement of antitrust litigation, which resulted in much larger judgments against three defendants that went to trial. Anywhere posted profits in the second and third quarters.

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Opendoor CEO Carrie Wheeler’s base salary last year was $750,000, accompanied by a $250,000 target bonus, a performance bonus of the same amount and $27 million in equity. Opendoor returned to profitability in the second quarter, thanks to some financial maneuvering.

Reffkin’s compensation was in 2021 much more equity-based, likely because of the company’s IPO in April. He received $89 million in equity that year.

There are some strings attached to his new compensation package. He would have to repay his $7 million bonus if he leaves Compass or is fired in the next two years, with $875,000 becoming non-refundable each quarter.

Compass stock has been on an upswing lately, soaring nearly 75 percent over the past month and nearly 80 percent year-to-date. It rose 8.45 percent Wednesday to $3.98 per share.

While all three companies have seen their stock prices rise this year and even since a bombshell antitrust verdict shellacked the industry in November, all three have struggled to reward long-term shareholders, none more than Compass.

Compass stock debuted at $18 in 2021 and bottomed out this year at $1.82. Anywhere’s share price closed at $8.35 Wednesday, down from $17.75 in January 2019. Opendoor’s share price has risen nearly five-fold to $4.72 after slipping to 97 cents, but is still down from $10.93 in June 2020. 

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This post has been updated with information on Anywhere CEO Ryan Schneider’s equity grant received last year.

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