GLOBAL – Peter Coster, the former president of consulting firm Mercer, saw his bonus in his final year at the firm decline by more than 39%.

Coster, who retired in January, was paid a salary of $950,000 in 2004, the same as the preceding two years. But his 2004 bonus payout fell 39.4% to $1m from $1.65m in 2003.

He had stock in parent firm Marsh & McLennan worth $7.32m, according to an MMC regulatory filing at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It added that Coster, in his capacity as an employee of Mercer, was involved in a private equity fund managed by MMC Capital – and that he was not obliged to pay any fees for the investment.

MMC says its board does not think in MMC Capital’s funds impair directors’ independence. On February 28, MMC signed a letter of intent to transfer the unit to its management.

Coster joined Mercer in 1984 and became president in 1987. He left the board of MMC in November as it became embroiled in an insurance market scandal.

Charles Haldeman, president and chief executive of MMC’s Putnam Investments asset management arm has seen his salary rise substantially since taking the top job. He took over in November 2003 in the wake of the improper trading scandal which cost the job of his predecessor Lawrence Lasser.

In 2002 he was paid $75,000 in salary – with a bonus of $8.6m. In 2004 his salary was $950,000 – although his bonus was down to $6.5m.