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Company News: WaMu cuts bonuses for top execs

Washington Mutual Inc., the country’s biggest savings and loan, on Tuesday said it slashed 2007 cash bonuses for its top executives.

Stephen Rotella, WaMu’s president and chief operating officer, will receive a bonus of $912,800 for the year, a 71 percent cut from the $3.1 million he got in 2006, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Chief Financial Officer Thomas Casey’s bonus was cut 71 percent to $391,200. James Corcoran, president of WaMu’s retail banking division, will receive $277,100, or 70 percent less than a year ago.

Last week WaMu said Chief Executive Officer Kerry Killinger would not accept a bonus for the year, after the thrift reported it swung to a $1.87 billion loss, dragged down by the sinking value of its mortgage portfolio and rising defaults and delinquencies. Like other U.S. financial institutions, WaMu has been struggling since summer with turmoil in the housing and credit markets.

H&R Block Inc., the nation’s largest tax preparer, said Tuesday it plans to cut jobs as it seeks to streamline its operations.

The Kansas City-based company declined in a written statement to give any specifics but said it may announce the details of those cuts early next month.

H&R Block had said last month that it was reviewing its expenses as it deals with the failure of its subprime mortgage arm, Option One Mortgage Corp., and considers the future of its investment advice, business services and banking operations.

The company’s woes led to the resignation of Chairman and Chief Executive Mark Ernst in November. Board member Richard Breeden replaced him as chairman and Alan Bennett is serving as interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement.

After seven months as chief executive, Yahoo Inc. co-founder Jerry Yang has concluded hundreds of employees will have to be fired to help the slumping Internet icon recover from years of misguided management.

The Sunnyvale-based company’s biggest purge since the dot-bust most likely will be announced next week, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday. The person asked not to be identified because the exact number of jobs to be cut is still under discussion.

Yang and his management team already have committed to jettisoning at least several hundred jobs.

Securities analysts are betting Yahoo will trim its 14,000-employee payroll by 5 percent – or 700 workers. If that many people are dumped, Yahoo could save about $100 million, JP Morgan analyst Imran Khan estimated in a Tuesday note.

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