ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports:
Ken Feinberg plans to scrap his role as the Obama administration’s Wall Street pay czar this summer in order to focus on his new responsibilities overseeing the BP oil spill compensation fund.
Earlier this month President Obama entrusted Feinberg with the new gig.
In a statement upon his appointment, Feinberg said, “I am honored by the President’s confidence in me and will work tirelessly to provide prompt, appropriate compensation to all those victims of the disaster. I assure everybody that the Independent Claims Facility will be administered in a fair and impartial manner. Time is of the essence.”
Now Feinberg will leave his pay czar post after a year when he slashed pay at a handful of companies receiving bailout funds from taxpayers. He cut 2010 cash pay for the top 25 executives at five companies – AIG, General Motors, GMAC, Chrysler and Chrysler Financial – by 33 percent from 2009 levels.
Whether or not Wall Street in general has changed its ways is another story.
“I don’t think Wall Street as a general institution gets the message,” he told ABC News in an interview in March. “I don’t think in American history they’ve ever gotten the message. There’s always been historically a huge gap in perception between Wall Street and Main Street. That goes back to the founding of the republic. And I don’t see that there’s any major change.”
“I’m hoping, however, that as a result of this initiative that I’m engaged in now pursuant to the law that Wall Street will begin to change the manner that it goes about compensating its high executive officials and there are some early signs that they are doing that,” he said.
In one of his first public appearances as pay czar, Feinberg joked that he might have to move to Pluto once he issued his rulings. Now, it seems, he’ll just be moving on to the $20 billion oil spill compensation fund.
On Friday Feinberg and Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu will be hosting a series of public meetings in that state, giving them a chance to hear from individuals and businesses affected by the oil mess.