These CEOs Got Paid $100+ Million Each To Quit

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When Gene Isenberg stepped down as CEO of Nabors Industries last fall, the company paid him $100,000,000 in cash as part of his employment agreement.But that’s chump change.

GMI Ratings recently published a report listing the 21 largest severance packages since 2000.  The study included final year salary, annual bonus.  It also included stock and option awards, pensions and other deferred compensation, which accounted for around 80% of the package.

All of the 21 packages were bigger than $100,000,000.

Tom Freston — $100,839,772

Company: Viacom

Tenure: 9 months

Freston was famously fired by Sumner Redstone in 2006 for having failed to acquire MySpace. But he still received a monster pay package during his last year, which include severance and perks worth more than $71 million. He now runs Firefly3 LLC, a media consulting and investment group.

Source: GMI

Bob Simpson — $103,485,972

Company: XTO Energy Inc.

Tenure: 22 years

Exxon's purchase of XTO in 2008 netted Simpson Exxon stock options ultimately worth more $70 million. He also saw a final-year bonus of $30 million.

Source: GMI

Leonard Schaeffer — $119,041,000

Company: WellPoint Health Networks

Tenure: 12 years

Schaeffer merged health plan provider WellPoint with Anthem in 2005, negotiating a deferred compensation and pension plan that netted him a lump sum payment of over $68 million.

Source: GMI

Meg Whitman, eBay — $120,427,360

Company: eBay

Tenure: 10 years

Whitman's exit package was almost all equity -- nearly $117 million. She promptly spent most of that on an unsuccessful bid for governor of California. She now heads HP.

Source: GMI

George David — $122,631,309

Wallace Malone — $125,292,818

Company: SouthTrust/Wachovia

Tenure: 23 years

Wachovia bought SouthTrust for $14 billion in 2004. Malone, SouthTrust's CEO since the early 80s, signed up for a deferred compensation plan worth over $34 million and potential severance in excess of $100 million. He stayed on for just a year and a half and ended up with a pension and deferred compensation of over $72 million.

Source: GMI

Joel Gemunder. — $146,001,476

Company: Omnicare Inc

Tenure: 9 years

Gemunder hit the ejection button in 2010 in advance of an ugly Q2 earnings release, jumping away with pension and deferred earnings of $102 million and $17 million in perks and severance.

Source: GMI

Jerry Grundhofer — $159,064,090

Company: U.S. Bancorp

Tenure: 5 years

For just five years of service at the Minneapolis-based lender, Grundhofer earned deferred compensation worth more than $111 million. He's probably been the busiest of anyone on this list since stepping down, having served In June he was named chairman of Spanish banking giant Banco Santander's U.S. division, which includes Sovereign Bank.

Stan O'Neal — $161,500,000

Company: Merrill Lynch

Tenure: 5 years

O'Neal presided over Merrill's collapse in the subprime crisis. Boardmembers allowed him to retire in 2007, but he forfeited pension, perks and deferred compensation worth $54 million. Even still, he walked away with equity profits worth over $160 million.

Source: GMI

Bob Ulrich — $164,162,612

Company: Target

Tenure: 14 years

Under Ulrich's leadership, Target sales tripled and profits rose by 900 per cent. He walked away with a pension and deferred compensation worth $138 million.

Source: GMI

Jim Kilts — $164,532,192

Company: Gillette

Tenure: 5 years

After just five years helming the storied shaving company, Kilts sold Gillette to Procter & Gamble for $57 billion in 2005. His reward: stock options and severance worth nearly $165 million.

Source: GMI

Tom Ryan — $185,415,435

Company: CVS Caremark

Tenure: 13 years

Ryan presided over CVS' merger with Caremark in 2006. The deal eventually led to an investigation by the F.T.C. into anti-competitive practices that was just settled Thursday with the company agreeing to pay $5 million on a much smaller deceptive pricing charge. Ryan stepped down last year with a pension and deferred compensation package of $131 million. He'll get the pension, $58 million, as a lump sum.

Source: GMI

Hank McKinnell — $188,329,553

Company: Pfizer

Tenure: 5 years

During McKinnell's tenure at Pfizer CEO, the company saw $140 billion in losses. At the final shareholder meeting of his tenure, a plane famously flew overhead with a banner reading, 'Give It Back, Hank!' The sign failed: McKinnell received a pension of $161.6 million, the largest of anyone in GMI's report.

Source: GMI

Lou Gerstner — $189,005,929

Company: IBM

Tenure: 9 years

Gerstener's post-CEO consulting contract called for 20 years' access to IBM aircraft, cars, home security and financial planning assistance. His equity profits were worth $155 million.

Source: GMI

Fred Hassan — $189,352,324

Company: Schering-Plough/Merck & Co.

Tenure: 6 years

Hassan took a severance after just six years as CEO of Schering-Plough after the company was bought by Merck & Co. for $41 billion. His pension was worth $98 million.

Source: GMI

John Kanas — $214,300,000

Company: North Fork Bank

Tenure: 29 years

Kanas stepped down from North Fork after the Long Island-based bank was bought by Capital One for $14.6 billion in 2006. In total, his equity profits and perquisites totaled $213 million (pension was worth just $1 million).

Source: GMI

Bob Nardelli — $223,290,123

Company: Home Depot

Tenure: 6 years

After becoming embroiled with shareholders over his annual compensation (which in 2006 reached $131 million), Nardelli was ousted by shareholders, but not before taking home a severance package that alone was worth more than $100 million.

Source: GMI

Ed Whitacre — $230,048,463

Company: AT&T

Tenure: 17 years

Upon retiring Whitacre walked away with a pension of $160 million, at the time the largest ever. Other perks included home security, use of the corporate jet, country club fees and 'automobile benefits' of $24,000 a year.

Source: GMI

Bill McGuire — $285,996,009

Company: UnitedHealth Group Inc.

Tenure: 15 years

McGuire got the boot in 2006 after coming under fire for improperly backdating stock options. He was forced to relinquish compensation totaling $620 million and pay a $7 million fine to the SEC. But his equity profits ended up totaling more than $180 million, and his pension was worth almost $103 million.

Source: GMI

Lee Raymond — $320,599,861

Company: Exxon

Tenure: 12 years

Raymond stepped down after 12 years having turned Exxon into one of the largest companies on earth, raising the company's profits from $5 billion to over $25 billion.

Source: GMI

Jack Welch — $417,361,902

Company: General Electric

Source: 20 years

Besides taking top spot for corporate severance packages, Welch's retirement also led to G.E. having to increase disclosure of perks in public filings after it was revealed he'd obfuscated his extensive use of the company's jet, a New York apartment and box seats at Red Sox games. Still, Welch, now 76, earns $9 million a year for the rest of his life.

Source: GMI

Now, here's 200,000 people who got screwed

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