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Money for nothing and your chicks for free (4 people who got a lot of money for a little work)

October 26, 2009
tags: , ,

There has been a lot of controversy over the last few years about executive pay and corporate greed.  Now, the Feds are suggesting a salary cap for companies who took part in the TARP program.  I tend to agree in this situation.  I don’t see why CEO’s should be making $20 million per year while shareholders are losing their collective shirts and employees are being laid off. 

One of the perks you will never see

One of the perks you will never see

There are some people who have done better than that, making huge sums of money for doing almost nothing.  It’s almost like a get-rich-quick scheme, except for this one you need more tha $295 and a bunch of naive friends. 


More like you need a degree from Harvard or be able to throw a ball 95 mph.  Either way, these guys made out like bandits.

Michael Ovitz

Company: Disney

Tenure: 16 months

Compensation: $140 million

Hourly rate: $54,687.50

Michael Ovitz was already a big player when he took the post of president at Disney in 1995.  He had started Creative Artists Agency and became one of the most powerful people in Hollywood.  While at Disney, he was often at odds with CEO Michael Eisner.  Rumors were circulating that there was only room for one Michael, though this was not confirmed.

The exact moment when Mickey kissed his ass goodbye

The exact moment when Mickey kissed his ass goodbye

In addition to his compensation, Ovitz also raided the petty cash in his desk drawer.  Things like a new car, a refurbished office, and courtside Lakers tickets burned through another $6 million.  Fun fact:  depending on when he cashed out his stock options that were part of his severance package, he could have realistically made as much as $165 million.  My temp agency has never offered me anything like this.

George Shaheen

Company: Webvan

Tenure: Just under two years

Compensation: $375,000 per year for the rest of his life

Hourly rate: $180.28 for the rest of his life

  This guy likes to leave destruction in his wake.  He came to Webvan (Remember that company?) during the tech boom.  He left the top job at Anderson Consulting to join Webvan.  Let’s take a look at these two companies.  Shortly after he left Anderson Consulting, the company was very entangled in the Enron debacle and eventually had to change their name to distance themselves from it.  Webvan never made a profit, still bought out other competing companies, and eventually had to be saved by

Let me negotiate YOUR retirement package

Let me negotiate YOUR retirement package

 So in comes Shaheen.  I don’t know what the board at Webvan thought would happen.  Maybe they thought “Well, we need a CEO.  We’re a grocery company.  Let’s get this this guy who heads an accounting firm.”  The closest Shaheen has come to a grocery store  in the last decade is telling his personal chef that they’re out of Cheeze Whiz.

The board at Webvan had their heads here when they hired Sheehan

The board at Webvan had their heads here when they hired Shaheen

Moving on, Webvan collapsed during Shaheen’s short career there.  The value of the company was cut down by two-thirds, the stock price fell 98%, and after he left the company (his future now set) it was bought out by Amazon for pennies on the dollar.  A lot of people lost a lot of money on this one.  I tried to see if Amazon is still honoring the agreement between Webvan and Shaheen.  I couldn’t find anything which means they probably are.

Mike Hampton

Company: Colorado Rockies/Atlanta Braves/Houston Astros

Tenure: 168 games over 9 years

Compensation: $121 million

Rate per victory: $2,160,714

 There are so many examples of this in sports.  I could have picked any number of people to include on this list.  Ryan Leaf, Andruw Jones, Carl Pavano, and Jonathan Bender to name a few.  I chose Hampton over the others because at the time of the signing, it was the biggest contract in the history of sports.  They signed him to a 9 year contract and he played just enough games over that time to amount to one season.  Granted, he’s  a pitcher and he doesn’t play every day, but I don’t care.

A very rare sight between 2001 and 2009

A very rare sight between 2001 and 2009

 Numerous injuries, some of the questionable, kept him out the rest of the time.  But he still got paid every cent.  Not only that, he was traded twice during the contract.  What the hell is wrong with the Braves and Astros?  Yeah, nice pick up guys.  I hope your not paying him too much.  Oh, wait…

Alan Fishman

Company: Washington Mutual

Tenure: 21 Days

Compensation: $19 million

Hourly rate: $158,833.33

This guy takes the cake.  Alan had held executive positions at places like Chemical Bank and Meridian Capital Group.  When Washington Mutual was falling like a lead balloon in late 2008, their CEO stepped down.  WaMu brought in Fishman to serve as the CEO and try to revive the company. 

He left WaMu with plenty of WaMoolah

He left WaMu with plenty of WaMoolah

Oh, he revived it plenty.  Directly into government hands.  During his short time there, the stock fell to pennies and the bank was seized by the FDIC after only three weeks.  Fishman was ousted as CEO, but not before staking claim to a total compensation package of $19 million.  This included a several million dollar severance package.  AFTER THREE WEEKS!  And people were surprised that banks hit the skids.  I’m not saying I could have done better but, well…  I could have done better.  And I would have done it at the bargain-basement price of $5 million.  It would have been a freaking great deal for them.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 3, 2011 3:21 pm

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