Larry Summers’s millions

By Felix Salmon
April 4, 2009

Larry Summers made a lot of money last year, and boy is it voyeuristically impossible to resist looking through his disclosure to see who paid him what. The really big money, unsurprisingly, came from DE Shaw: a salary of $1,432,497 (weird amount, that), along with partnership distributions of $3,756,126, for a total of $5,188,623. But just because he was earning $100,000 a week from DE Shaw doesn’t mean he wasn’t earning lots of money elsewhere, too: his speaking engagements alone came to another $2.8 million or so.

Of particular interest to me is the amount that Nouriel Roubini was paying Summers to sit on the advisory board of Roubini Global Economics, where I used to work: $147,500 a year. Somehow I doubt that fellow board member Marc Uzan was pulling down a similar amount.

But Summers’s speeches are interesting too, especially the foreign ones: $67,500 from Tata Conultancy Services; $90,000 from the Asociation de Bancos de Mexico; $103,500 from the Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Baja California; $112,500 from Centro de Liderazgo y Gestion in Colombia; the same amount from IESE Business School in Spain; $135,000 from the American Chamber of Commerce in Argentina; and a whopping $225,000 from Leaders and Company, the publishers of This Day newspaper in Nigeria.

Is Larry Summers the only person in history to reply to an email from Nigeria saying “we have hundreds of thousands of dollars we would like to give you; you need to do very little to receive it” — and actually get the money?

What’s sure is that Summers has made so much money during his time in the private sector that he can easily afford to spend the foreseeable future in public service, should he be so inclined: you don’t need to make $8 million a year for very many years before your net worth becomes so large that money simply ceases to matter any more. After all, it’s not like he’s spending it all on clothes.

Update: The NYT adds that Summers earned his $5.2 million from DE Shaw working just one day a week.

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