Top Goldman Sachs Execs Make Millions on Stock Sales

It did not take long for Goldman Sachs Group (GS) shares to recover from the lows they hit after the SEC filed fraud charges against the company on Apr. 16. The bank settled for $550 million on July 15. Goldman's stock traded for as little as $131 after the government accusations. Last week it hit $161.

In a series of Form 4 filings with the SEC late on Aug. 13, Goldman Sachs management disclosed the exercise of stock options and sales of shares that totaled tens of millions of dollars. CEO Lloyd Blankfein exercised 90,681 options with an underlying price of $82.875 and made over $6 million by selling the shares last week. President Gary Cohn exercised 73,653 options priced at the same figure as Blankfein's and made a $4.95 million gain. Five other Form 4s were filed by other executives. The options were first exercisable at the beginning of 2004.

The news will likely cause another round of criticism about how much Goldman's management was paid for running a business which many government officials and the public believe was not always operated ethically and honestly. Defenders of Goldman management will say that the executives made a lot of money for shareholders.