James O’Donnell, chief executive officer of American Eagle Outfitters Inc., took a 68.3 percent cut in total compensation last year, mainly because of a steep drop in his stock and options awards.

This story first appeared in the May 5, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

According to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, O’Donnell’s total annual compensation fell to $3.8 million, from just under $12 million in 2007. His stock and options awards declined 70.8 percent in 2008 to $2.6 million, compared with stock and options totaling $8.8 million in the previous year.

The executive’s base salary grew 9.3 percent to $1.5 million, from $1.4 million. Other compensation allotted to O’Donnell shrank 4.3 percent to $39,520, of which he spent $15,250 on his car allowance.

Stock and option awards are reported based on SEC accounting guidelines. The compensation reported in these categories was not necessarily realized because of vesting schedules and falling share prices.

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