GGP’s Mathrani earned more than $39M last year

Retail REIT's CEO received $25M stock award per new deal signed in February 2015

Sandeep Mathrani GGP
Sandeep Mathrani

Things didn’t go particularly great for General Growth Properties in 2015, but that didn’t stop the retail-focused real estate investment trust from compensating CEO Sandeep Mathrani to the tune of $39.2 million last year.

Most of that money came in the form of a $25 million stock award that Mathrani received as part of a new contract he signed in February 2015, Chicago-based GGP disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory filing Friday.

In addition to the stock award, which will vest in 2020, Mathrani earned $1.2 million in base salary, a $3 million bonus and a separate, $10 million stock award, according to Bloomberg.

His total compensation dwarfs that of other major REIT CEOs like Vornado Realty Trust’s Steven Roth, who made just under $11 million last year, but still lags behind the likes of Vector Group president and CEO Howard Lorber, who banked a whopping $42.5 million in 2015.

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GGP[TRData] appointed Mathrani as CEO in 2010, hiring him away from fellow commercial REIT Vornado, where he serve as executive vice president of the Penn Plaza-based company’s retail division for more than eight years.

GGP was in the midst of exiting bankruptcy at the time it hired Mathrani, who arrived shortly after GGP received court approval for restructuring after filing one of the biggest real estate bankruptcies in U.S. history in April 2009.

While Mathrani helped turn GGP around, the mall- and retail-focused REIT struggled throughout 2015. GGP shares had traded down more than 13 percent over the 12 months leading up to a rumored takeover bid by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management in January.

Brookfield later dispelled rumors of a GGP takeover, and GGP’s stock has since rebounded back near its 52-week high, opening at $29.66 per share on Friday. [Bloomberg]Rey Mashayekhi