Sometimes it pays to walk away.
Optics-wise, this has not been a good millennium for corporate fat cats. After a decade that produced Worldcom, Enron, and TARP, somehow “chief executive officer” just doesn’t ring like it once did. One reason the CEO biz is looking a little suspect these days: The gargantuan packages these folks get just to walk away. Granted, many of them added substantial value to the companies they run, but critics say that’s beside the point, as we reported here. It’s not clear that these 10 golden parachutes* are the biggest of all time (GovernanceMetrics International, which compiled them, surveyed only listed U.S. firms). But if they’re not, we probably don’t want to know what the biggest contain.