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Simon Reinstates Full Salaries, Reimburses Back Pay For C-Suite And Board

Simon Property Group's headquarters in Indianapolis as of August 2019

Simon Property Group has reversed one of the cost-cutting decisions it made early in the coronavirus pandemic.

Simon is restoring the full salaries of Chairman and CEO David Simon, General Counsel and Secretary Steven Fivel, Chief Administrative Officer John Rulli, Chief Financial Officer Brian MacDade and Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary Alexander Snyder, it announced in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. Simon also disclosed that it will resume payment of retainer fees to its board of directors.

Not only will the above executives resume their full salaries, they will also be reimbursed for the time in the second and third quarters when they were receiving a reduced rate, the REIT said. When the year ends, all of the Simon executives will have been paid the same annual salary they were scheduled to receive as 2020 began. The same is true for the board of directors.

David Simon announced he wouldn't be receiving a salary on an interim basis in March as the pandemic shuttered malls around the country, while other top executives were seeing their salaries reduced up to 30%. That cut was made concurrently with the decision to furlough 30% of Simon employees and permanently lay off an unspecified number.

No announcement has been made regarding if furloughed employees have been brought back or how many. Simon has no people of color in its C-suite and on its board of directors, according to a Bisnow analysis last month. Simon didn't respond to requests for comment.

Simon's cost-cutting measures this year have extended beyond its own roster: In November, the company either surrendered or indicated its willingness to surrender four mall properties backing CMBS loans, around the same time that it finished negotiating a dramatically reduced price for its acquisition of competitor Taubman Centers.

Though the news of a coming coronavirus vaccine prompted renewed optimism in retail REITs like Simon in November, its decision to use debt to acquire Taubman and continued grim prospects for retail tenants in the next year led Fitch Ratings to downgrade Simon from an A investment to A-minus. Simon's stock price closed on Monday at $87.32, a sizable improvement from its April nadir of $44 but still only 59% of its 2020 peak, when it hit $149.11 on Jan. 21.