As protesters demonstrate against income inequality in Zuccotti Park and around the world, one company CEO will likely net nearly $100 million to stop doing his job.
Douglas Foshee, CEO of El Paso -- the natural gas pipeline operator that will be acquired by rival Kinder Morgan in a $21 billion deal -- is eligible for an exit package worth approximately $95 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Foshee can walk away with the millions if he leaves within two years of an acquisition and the CEO says that’s exactly what he plans to do.
Foshee's big exit pay may not be completely uncharacteristic among CEOs. C-suite level executives that don't work in finance make up the biggest share of the top 1 percent of income earners, according to a recent report.
At least Foshee would be getting a reward for a job well done. The WSJ reports that he engineered a transformation at El Paso during his eight years at the company. But some CEOs still managed to net millions after they left even when their former employers weren’t happy with their work.
Léo Apotheker, Hewlitt-Packard’s former CEO took home $13.2 million in cash and stocks as part of his severance package, according to The New York Times, after his 11-month controversy-filled tenure at the company. Robert Kelly, former CEO of Bank of New York Mellon got a $17.2 million severance package after he was ousted amid boardroom clashes, according to the same report.
Still, those packages and Foshee’s pale in comparison to some. John Kanas, former CEO of North Fork Bancorp made $185 million when he left his post after his company was acquired by Capital One in 2005, according to the WSJ. And James Kilts, former CEO of Gillette Corp. took home the same amount after his company was acquired by Gillette in 2006.
But, for some, there is still money to be made staying on the job. Each Goldman Sachs worker is slated to make an average of $292,000 in 2011, even as the investment bank reported a 75 percent plunge in profits Tuesday, according to CNN Money. In 2010 Wall Street paid its employees $20.8 billion in cash bonuses, the New York State Comptroller Estimates, according to the Economist. That's an average of about $128,530 per employee, Reuters reports.
The 2010 figure was a 9 percent drop from 2009, but most financial professionals anticipate their bonuses to go back up. Sixty-two percent of Wall Street workers said they expect their bonuses to be the same as or higher than last years, according to a survey from eFinancialCareers.com.