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Streetwise Shares, options made 2012 a great year for Gerry Schwartz

The $64-million man: Onex chairman and CEO Gerry Schwartz

Mark Blinch/Reuters/Mark Blinch/Reuters

Onex Corp.'s new proxy circular makes for great reading, as long as you're not the jealous type.

While Onex founder, chairman and chief executive officer Gerry Schwartz had a relatively typical year (by his standards) in terms of his basic compensation – he earned $13.3-million (U.S.) in 2012, down slightly from $14.3-million in 2011 – the really big numbers show up in the value of his shares and stock options.

With Onex's share price climbing 27 per cent in 2012, the value of Mr. Schwartz's equity had an equally good year.

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His unexercised stock options, for example, were worth $194-million (Canadian) as of Dec. 31, up from $125-million a year earlier, while his 21 million subordinate voting shares and deferred share units were worth $981.5-million as of Feb. 28, up from $821-million last year. Together, his options and shares top $1.1-billion.

And that doesn't even include the value of other shares he holds in Onex investments such as Celestica, ClientLogic Holdings, Cypress Holdings and other Onex limited partnerships and investment funds.

The only significant change in Mr. Schwartz's pay in 2012 compared to 2011 was that he did not earn the same large payouts from his investments in Onex private equity deals, which have more sporadic payouts depending on fund performance.

In 2011 he reaped $20.8-million from Onex investments in which he personally co-invested, as well as $26.2-million in "carried interest" payments for a total of $47-million in additional compensation. In 2012, by comparison, he earned $1.4-million of "carried interest" and received no other payments.

There's no suggestion Mr. Schwartz, 71, is planning on retiring soon, but if he does, the proxy circular also shows he does not have a company pension plan. Not that he needs one.

(Janet McFarland is a Globe and Mail Business Reporter.)

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