Tuesday, June 10, 2008

CEOs Overpaid Even When Dead

I liked this headline from today's Wall Street Journal:

Companies Promise CEOs Lavish Posthumous Paydays

You still can't take it with you. But some executives have arranged for the next best thing: huge corporate payouts to their heirs if they die in office.

Take Eugene Isenberg, the 78-year-old chief executive of Nabors Industries Ltd. If Mr. Isenberg died tomorrow, Nabors would owe his estate a "severance" payment of at least $263.6 million, company filings show. That's more than the first-quarter earnings at the Houston oil-service company.

Dozens of other companies offer lush death-benefit packages to their top executives, according to a Wall Street Journal review of federal filings. Many companies accelerate unvested stock awards after a death, which by itself can amount to tens of millions of dollars. Some promise giant posthumous severance payouts, supercharged pensions or even a continuation of executives' salaries or bonuses for years after they're dead.

People already complain that CEO's don't have to be good at their jobs to make boatloads of money. Now they don't even have to be alive! It sounds like something you'd read in the Onion!


Taylor said...

I just wanted to say that your post on Moleskine inspired me - I ordered one online, and it arrived in the mail today. I have wanted a book to keep with me to make notes/comments/thoughts and I think this one will be just perfect. And you are right - the clean, unmarked pages are so perfect - I am hesitant to mark on them, and have spent several minutes here at work contemplating which pen I should use when I first write in it.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Anonymous said...

hey m. x. did you see this article about debtors anonymous in WSJ today?

Madame X said...

thanks anonymous, I hadn't seen that!

Chad @ Sentient Money said...

The Onion comment is perfect. This CEO perk isn't even believable.

Anonymous said...

Which is why satire is so difficult nowadays. The absurd is the new normal. More and more, I'm reminded of this quote from Gabriel Garcia Marquez: "It is no longer worth writing, I have been defeated by reality!"

whitestone said...

Reading about the CEO perks made me wonder...What kind of extreme brain do these fellows (any gals?) have that companies will pay them these kinds of perks, even after they are dead? I recognize that a keen sense of business genius must be required but are qualified persons so rare so as to fetch these $$$$$?

wendi said...

That is just crazy.