"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How Much Is Enough

I believe in the capitalist system but this is disgusting:

A 2007 study of 137 large companies by data-tracker Equilar Inc found that 72% of the CEOs had severance agreements and 82% were promised exit packages if they lost their jobs following a corporate takeover or "change in control."

Stanley O'Neal, Merril Lynch:
Golden Parachute:
$160 million, including more than $129 million in stock and options.
Claim to Shame: O'Neal takes the fall for failing to adequately control the firm's credit and market risks, which resulted in a stunning $8 billion-plus write down in the third quarter.

Philip Purcell, Morgan Stanley:
Golden Parachute: $43.9 million plus $250,000 a year for life after being forced out.
Claim to Shame: He angered a group of shareholders who had already called for a break up of the firm by reorganizing management and promoting some executives who were seen as loyal to him.

Richard Grasso, New York Stock Exchange:

Golden Parachute: Took $140 million in deferred compensation.
Claim to Shame: The disclosure of which sparked a furor that led to his departure. The pay also provoked an investigation and lawsuits, which are still being worked out.

Douglas Ivester, Coca-Cola:
Golden Parachute: Took $120 million when he stepped down in 2000 in his mid-50s.
Claim to Shame: The departure was deemed a "retirement," but Ivester had presided over a period of stagnant growth, declining earnings and bad publicity.

Robert Nardelli, Home Depot:
Golden Parachute: $210 million.
Claim to Shame: He fixed up the home products retailer using techniques he learned as an executive at General Electric, but by 2006, he was starting to seriously irritate shareholders. The final straw was when he told the board to skip the annual shareholder meeting and prevented shareholders from speaking for more than a few minutes. He was ousted in January 2007.

Bruce Karatz, KB Homes:
Golden Parachute: Gets up to $175 million.
Claim to Shame: The former chief executive of the home building company resigned in November 2006 after an internal investigation into whether he and other executives backdated stock option grants.

Stephen Hilbert, Conseco:
Golden Parachute: Took an estimated $72 million.
Claim to Shame: Hilbert bought GreenTree Financial in 1998, just as the subprime lending business was about to go topsy turvy. The purchase left Conseco, an insurance company, with big write downs and ultimately contributed to its 2001 bankruptcy. The company has since reemerged from reorganization.

Michael Ovitz, Disney:
Golden Parachute: $140 million after less than two years on the job.
Claim to Shame: A former big-time Hollywood agent, Ovitz was recruited to Disney to work under Chairman Michael Eisner, but the two couldn't play nice. The pay was disputed in a Delaware court, which decided in 2005 that the board didn't violate its fiduciary duty in awarding that much severance.

Hank McKinnell, Pfizer:
Golden Parachute: $198 million, including $78 million in deferred compensation he built up in 35 years at the pharmaceutical company.
Claim to Shame: Pfizer shares sank 40% on his watch, which ended last year. The company had to cut billions in costs and fire thousands of employees and said it wouldn't see revenue growth until 2009.

Frank Newman, Bankers Trust:
Golden Parachute: $55 million.
Claim to Shame: A former deputy Treasury secretary, Newman was brought to Bankers Trust to restore confidence after the 1994 derivatives scandal. He made aggressive moves into technology banking and lending (buying boutique Alex. Brown & Sons in 1997). But that push, plus a big position in Russian government bonds put the bank on the brink. Newman left in 1999 after selling the company to Deutsche Bank.

Carly Fiorina, Hewlett Packard:
Golden Parachute: $45 million including a $21.4 million severance package.
Claim to Shame: Fiorina was dismissed as the CEO of Hewlett Packard in 2005 after a merger with Compaq floundered, stock prices plunged 50 percent and 20,000 people were laid off.

Alan H. Fishman, Washington Mutual:
Golden Parachute:
$18 million in bonuses
Claim to Shame: Was only employed for three weeks at the failed savings and loan.

Bob Nardelli, Home Depot:
Golden Parachute: $210 million
Claim to Shame: Pocketed a lavish severance package and left shareholders with a stock that languished even as sales have nearly doubled during his six-year tenure.

Richard S Fuld Jr, Lehman Brothers:
Golden Parachute: Unknown however he was paid approximately $350 million from 2000 to 2007.
Claim to Shame: Ignored a warning that the bank's 'liquidity can disappear quite fast' and dismissed suggestions that staff may not get their bonuses. Also, according to the Associated Press, internal company documents detailed a request to the compensation committee that three departing executives be given $20 million in "special payments." The request was made on September 11 - four days before the company went bankrupt.

One positive note:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's outgoing CEOs Daniel Mudd and Richard Syron aren't going to receive the millions of dollars in severance that had previously been expected. The Federal Housing Finance Agency said it will block the severance payments which together had been estimated at up to $23 million.