It pays well to be a (failed) CEO

Leo Apotheker walks away from HP with nearly $10 million in severance, bonus

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Leo Apotheker lasted less than a year as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, a time during which he presided over the destruction of half of the company's value.

His punishment? A severance and bonus package worth nearly $10 million. Talk about failing for dollars!

A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission lays out the details of Apotheker's kiss-off package. It looks a little something like this:

* $7.2 million in severance, to be paid over the next 18 months.

* A $2.4 million bonus under the company's (get ready for this) Pay-for-Results Plan.

Because, you know, he really earned that bonus, what with the company's poor financial performance, constantly reduced guidance, announced abandonment of its largest revenue-producing division (computers) and almost instant retreat from the mobile OS market. Apotheker's personal attorney must have noticed that the "PfR Plan" didn't specify that the results had to be positive!

And what's with stretching those severance checks over 18 months, HP? The poor guy's going to have to go on a budget now!

Fortunately, HP threw Apotheker a few more bones that could spare him continuous nights of dining on Ramen noodles.

For starters, there's the accelerated vesting of 156,000 restricted shares worth $3.56 million. And the 424,000 "performance-based restricted stock units" whose value will be determined by HP's financial and stock performance.

Also, he'll get reimbursed for relocation expenses, including return airfare for him and his wife to France or Belgium, up to "an additional $300,000 for any loss Mr. Apotheker incurs on the sale of his California residence and other reasonable fees and expenses Mr. Apotheker incurs in connection with such sale."

Good thing for Leo, because the housing market is just brutal!

He also gets 18 months of medical coverage and will have legal fees incurred during negotiation of his "exit package" reimbursed.

Not bad for an 11-month, slow-motion train wreck. I guess this must be the new "HP Way."

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