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Goldman Sachs pays CEO Blankfein $22.6 million for 2015

A Goldman Sachs sign is seen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in the Manhattan borough of New York January 24, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

By Richa Naidu and Olivia Oran

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) paid Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein $22.6 million for 2015, according to a regulatory filing on Friday, marking his first pay decline in four years.

Blankfein received $24 million for 2014.

On top of his salary and other awards, Blankfein is eligible to receive a total of $7 million based on the bank's performance over the next eight years as part of Goldman's long-term performance incentive plan, the filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission showed.

The compensation included stock awards of $13.9 million and a bonus of $6.3 million. (http://1.usa.gov/1UNsQBR)

Goldman also paid Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn total compensation of $21 million, it said.

Goldman's compensation committee had determined that each executive's total 2015 pay should be reduced by 4 to 5 percent from the prior year, as a result of challenging financial markets and increased costs related to regulatory requirements, it said.

The decision factored in a payment of over $5 billion to settle U.S. regulators' claims that Goldman had misled investors of mortgage bonds sold between 2005 and 2007, it added.

Goldman told shareholders to vote against a shareholder proposal that required that the bank's chairman be an independent board member, the filing showed.

Shares of Goldman Sachs declined 8 percent in 2015, making it the second worst performer among the big U.S. banks after Morgan Stanley (MS.N), which slumped 18 percent.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), the biggest U.S. bank by assets, said on Thursday that it had raised CEO Jamie Dimon's 2015 pay package to $27 million. Arch rival Morgan Stanley said last week that it had cut CEO James Gorman's compensation to $22.1 million from $23.3 million.

(Reporting by Reporting by Richa Naidu and Olivia Oran; Editing by Don Sebastian and Richard Chang)