Goldman Sachs Readies Bonus Bonanza, Braces for Backlash

Goldman's elite likely to take home the financial industry's biggest bonuses.

ByABC News
December 14, 2009, 2:08 PM

Jan. 12, 2010— -- Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein will be among the chief executives set to appear tomorrow at the first public hearing of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and his firm will be back in the public crosshairs later this month when it announces what is expected to be a $20 billion-plus compensation kitty. Some of Goldman's top traders and bankers stand to earn at least $10 million each.

But who, exactly, are these over-the-top compensation beneficiaries?

With national scorn mounting and the Obama administration reportedly eying a new levy against outsized financial pay, recently spoke with securities industry members and executive recruiters to get a sense of which specific Goldman employees stand to bring home the largest bonus checks.

A Goldman spokesman said "the speculation about compensation is ill-informed and, frankly, pretty stupid."

Here are 10 who most likely are in line to clear at least $10 million:

Pierre-Henri Flamand is a French-born 39-year-old who was rumored to have been paid $100 million a few years ago (Goldman denied it). Flamand is the London-based global head of Goldman's purely proprietary trading group, Goldman Sachs Principal Strategies. Goldman CEO Blankfein has said pure prop trading is only 10 percent of the firm's trading revenues and profits.

Ashok Varadhan, one of Goldman's top fixed-income guns, is the global head of foreign exchange trading in North America. Varadhan, who made partner in 2002 at age 29, owns luxury digs in the same New York apartment building as Blankfein. Varadhan's dad, Srinivasa, teaches math at New York University. He had a brother, Gopal, who worked as a trader for Cantor Fitzgerald and was killed in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

David Heller joined Goldman in Asia in the late 1980s. He has risen within the firm, becoming the head of global equity a few years ago. Last year, he was named co-head of the Securities Division. Goldman's equities division delivered $2.8 billion in revenues in the third quarter alone. "Heller is possibly the one person other than Gary [Cohn, Goldman's president] who could someday succeed Blankfein," said one Wall Street headhunter.

Ed Eisler is head of interest rate trading, which is part of Goldman's most profitable division, Fixed Income Commodities and Currency. The FICC group contributed the lion's share of the firm's $24 billion in trading revenues recorded through the first nine months of the year.