Rebekah Brooks received a staggering $11.2 million payout upon leaving her job as head of Rupert Murdoch's News International, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
Brooks stepped down from her role as the phone hacking scandal spiraled out of control. Since then, she has been charged with obstructing the investigation into her role in phone hacking, as well as charged with conspiring to hack phones.
Brooks was always very close to Rupert Murdoch -- he infamously said that she was his top priority at one point during the height of the hacking scandal -- and so it is not altogether surprising that the payout, which presumably came before she was charged, was so substantial. Still, the figure is many millions higher than previous estimates. The FT said that it included "cash and pension payments as well as an allowance for legal fees and the use of a chauffeur-driven car, according to two people with knowledge of her compensation."
The Guardian reported that the deal comes with certain clauses that would force Brooks to pay some of the money back if, for instance, she was found guilty of the criminal charges.
The revelation came on the eve of News Corp.'s annual shareholder meeting. The company's 2011 gathering was a tense affair, with many major shareholders expressing their dissatisfaction with the Murdoch family's leadership and the organization's governance structure. This year, CalPERS, the huge California pension fund, has already said it will vote against Rupert Murdoch. For his part, Murdoch has tweeted that any unhappy shareholders are free to sell up and get out of the company.