Tribune Co. proposed paying its top 43 executives a severance
package of cash and benefits if they are asked by a new board to leave
the company after the Chicago-based media conglomerate emerges from
The company didn’t put a price tag on the package, but said it
amounts to 2.5 times salary and bonus for Chief Executive Randy
Michaels, and 2.25 times salary and bonus for Chief Operating Officer
Gerry Spector. Both would be entitled to 24 months of the company’s
group health benefits.
Nine other top executives, including Tony Hunter, the publisher of
the Chicago Tribune, and Eddy Hartenstein, publisher of the Los Angeles
Times, would get 1.75 times salary and bonus plus 24 months of
benefits. A list of 32 others would get 1.5 times salary and 18 months
GREAT. That’s just great. Forty-two million dollars or whatever the hell is basically a newspaper. You could basically buy a newspaper, albeit a small-town newspaper not full of overpaid “brands” and their sociopathic bosses, for what these top-drawer jerkoffs are going to get should their companies decide to jettison their asses.
Seriously, why are we not discussing, at all, banning or severely limiting severance packages when we talk about capping CEO pay and other socialistic ways to punish Scrooge McDuck’s spiritual children? I’m not talking about reasonable compensation for people who get laid off, by the way. Severances that take into account longtime service to a company in a sensible fashion are only fair. Double your salary and all your insurance says to you, “Go on, do your worst, you’ll be taken care of.”
If you told me I would get twice my salary and two years of health insurance if only I screwed up so badly I got fired, do you know how little incentive I would have to actually succeed? I’m profoundly lazy, people, and all I wanted to do this summer was lie on the beach. If you gave me that option, and it came with basically free money and health care so that I could keep paying the mortgage, I’d get canned SO FAST.