Wilmers' compensation package rises to $3.4M

March 7, 2013 Updated Mar 7, 2013 at 12:08 PM EDT

By Allissa Kline, Buffalo Business First

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Wilmers' compensation package rises to $3.4M

March 7, 2013 Updated Mar 7, 2013 at 12:08 PM EDT

The compensation package for M&T Bank Corp.'s chief executive surpassed $3 million in 2012, due in part to a boost in base salary and the receipt of a six-figure cash bonus.

Board chairman and CEO Robert Wilmers received $3.4 million in total pay for 2012, according to the Buffalo bank's annual proxy statement. The package included $1.85 million in base salary, up from $1.75 million in 2011, and a cash bonus amounting to $195,000.

In 2011, Wilmers received a package totaling $2.9 million. He did not receive a cash bonus, as the bank had not yet exited the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program, which prohibited payment of such bonuses.

M&T (NYSE: MTB) accepted government funding in late 2008 and exited the program last year.

Wilmers, 78, is one of five named M&T executives whose compensation rose in 2012. Two other packages also exceeded $3 million - bank President Mark Czarnecki received $3.03 million, while vice chairman Michael Pinto received $3.01 million.

The bank's compensation committee determined that each of the executives should receive an increase in total pay based on the company's "strong performance in 2011," the conclusion of the Wilmington Trust Corp. acquisition and the "continued lagging" of compensation compared to peer groups.

Here's a breakdown of 2012 compensation for all five executives:

• In addition to Wilmers' increase in salary and the receipt of a cash bonus, the longtime CEO's stock awards rose to $750,106 while pension- and deferred compensation-related earnings dropped to $330,487. He received an increase in "other" compensation, which totaled $232,073 for the year, and includes perquisites such as club membership dues and expenses, parking, meals and expenses related to his Buffalo apartment.

• Rene Jones, executive vice president and CFO, received total compensation of $1.97 million in 2012. His base salary was $1.2 million and he received a cash bonus of $97,000.

• Czarnecki's package included $1.85 million in base salary, plus a cash bonus of $160,000 and nearly $200,000 in perks.

• Pinto, who serves as CEO of the bank's mid-Atlantic division, also received $1.85 million in base salary in 2012. Like Czarnecki, he too received a $160,000 cash bonus.

• Kevin Pearson, executive vice president, was paid $2.08 million in 2012. His cash bonus totaled $125,000 and his perks compensation nearly doubled, from $76,006 in 2011 to $136,395.

The bank's compensation details were released as part of the bank's annual proxy statement to shareholders. M&T will host its shareholder meeting at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 16 at its Buffalo headquarters.