Rithm Capital restructures CEO’s pay into incentive-friendly deal

In an SEC filing, the company disclosed a reduction in Michael Nierenberg’s base salary while upping his performance-based compensation

New York-based Rithm Capital has changed the compensation package of its top executive, Michael Nierenberg, by reducing his annual base salary, bonus and time-based equity award. But the company also increased the performance-based share of the total equity award.

As a result, Nierenberg’s target annual compensation rose from $15 million to $17 million, according to a March 15 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

A spokesperson for Rithm Capital declined to provide more details on the decision.

Nierenberg, the chairman, CEO and president of Rithm Capital, will have his base salary reduced from $1.25 million to $1 million, effective April 1, per the amendment to the compensation agreement signed in June 2022.

The parties agreed that Nierenberg’s annual target cash bonus will be reduced from $5 million to $4 million. And the time-based yearly equity award target will be cut from $4.375 million to $3 million. 

Meanwhile, Nierenberg’s annual performance-based equity award will increase from $4.375 million to $9 million, “such that 75% of the target value of Executive’s annual equity award grants will now be in the form of performance-based units,” the filing states. 

Nierenberg joined the company in 2013 and has recently repositioned it from a real estate investment trust (REIT) into a leading global asset manager. 

He led the company during the tumultuous acquisition of Sculptor Capital Management in 2023, bringing in $34 billion in assets under management. 

In the same year, Rithm also struck a deal to acquire Computershare Mortgage Services, including Specialized Loan Servicing (SLS), adding $136 billion in unpaid principal balance (UPB) of mortgage servicing rights (MSRs)

In the mortgage space, Rithm subsidiary Newrez restructured its distributed retail mortgage business, resulting in cuts to regional and divisional managers. It also included reduced compensation for loan officers, sources told HousingWire in February.

Nierenberg has been the president and CEO of Rithm since November 2013 and chairman since May 2016. Prior to joining Rithm, he held executive positions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers

In 2023, Rithm announced a $532.7 million GAAP net income, lower than its figure of $864.8 million in the prior year.

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