-Ambac awards chairman $975,000 '08 bonus

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  1. -Ambac awards chairman $975,000 '08 bonus
    Mon Feb 2, 2009 5:45pm EST

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    NEW YORK, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Bond insurer Ambac Financial Group Inc (ABK.N), whose shares have lost nearly all their value, said on Monday that it awarded chairman Michael Callen a $975,000 bonus for 2008 and Chief Executive David Wallis, who succeeded Callen on Oct. 21, a $500,000 bonus.

    The bonuses were disclosed in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The executives were not awarded any long-term stock compensation, according to the filing.

    Ambac shares have fallen 96 percent since the beginning of 2008, and closed down nearly 9 percent on Monday at $1.04.

    The company has ceased writing new business after posting large losses over the past two years and losing its top credit ratings.

    It is currently trying to set up a separate insurer, which it hopes will be able to regain a high credit rating, to provide coverage to municipal bond investors.

    "The ultimate goal of the compensation framework was to create an incentive for key executive officers that have been, and will continue to be, instrumental to the implementation of the firm's corporate strategy," Ambac said in the SEC filing.

    The company said incentive compensation in 2008 was 60 percent lower than in 2007.

    Ambac has yet to report its full-year 2008 results. It had a $3.3 billion net loss for 2007. (Reporting by Lilla Zuill; Editing by Gary Hill)