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If you worked for five years, did a lousy job, and got fired, what sort of going-away present do you think you’d get? A swift kick in the butt… or $180 million?
If you can’t imagine getting paid millions for failure – then you’re not a corporate CEO. These golden ones are paid outlandish sums of money on the grounds that they are a select few of talented “risk-takers” who lead corporations to financial success. But the dirty little secret of chief executivedom is that their little club is riddled with mediocrity, incompetence, and flim-flammery – and their ridiculous pay levels are nothing but a con job.
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Take the saga of Hank McKinnell. For the past five years, he’s been the top dog at Pfizer Inc. On his watch, this drug giant has seen its stock price plummet by 40 percent and has come under federal investigation for its marketing practices. So, last year, Pfizer’s board forced McKinnell into early retirement – i.e., they gave him the boot.
But what a cushy boot it was, padded with an unbelievable puffiness of dollar bills! For starters, Hank was handed a lump sum severance of nearly $12 million. Then he was given some $6 million dollars in stock grants, plus $2 million as a bonus payment. Yes, a bonus for failure! Also, he was paid some $900,000 for unused vacation time and for benefits he would have received had he not been… well, fired.
And here’s an especially sweet one: McKinnell, 63 years old, is to get an annual pension of $6.6 million. That’s 6.6 million every years until he dies! Hank’s total “go-away” package amounts to more than $180 million.
This is Jim Hightower saying… Remember, these are the same CEOs who tell us that corporations can no longer afford to pay middle-class wages and benefits to their workers. What a bunch of frauds!
“Pfizer’s Ex-Chief to Get Full Retirement Package,” The New York Times, December 22, 2006.