Apollo Lifts Board Member Pay at Least 20% After Epstein Fallout

Apollo Global Management Inc. will boost annual pay for independent directors by at least 20% as it seeks to bolster corporate governance following the backlash over co-founder Leon Black’s business ties with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The biggest beneficiary will be lead independent director Jay Clayton, the former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman. He’ll get a $250,000 annual fee, an initial award of $750,000 in restricted stock units covering the first three years and $250,000 of RSUs for each subsequent year, according to a regulatory filing.

“As part of the sweeping corporate governance enhancements, enacted and proposed, we will continue to expand and enhance the board with qualified directors as we further increase the independence of the board,” an Apollo spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Their compensation is in line with industry standards and their responsibilities.”

Clayton, who stepped down from the SEC at the end of 2020, will start on Apollo’s board March 1. He will be an ex-officio member on all board committees. He’ll also return to his previous employer, law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Apollo will provide Clayton with office space and administrative services, according to the Feb. 19 filing.

Clayton declined to comment.

Apollo will pay its other independent directors a $150,000 annual fee, up from $125,000. Directors will receive an additional yearly fee of $25,000 for each board committee they serve. Apollo is also doubling the amount of restricted stock it initially gives to new directors to $600,000, which will also cover three years.

Patrick Davitt, an analyst at Autonomous Research, welcomed the pay changes.

“To really hit home the message that the founders and senior management have truly independent oversight they need high-profile board members,” he said.

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