$5.5 million an hour for US fat cat

This video from the USA is called The Rich Get Richer – New Facts.

By Philip Bump in the USA:

Duke Energy CEO Bill Johnson resigns after one day, gets $44 million in severance

When Duke Energy announced its merger with Progress Energy last year, the two companies agreed that Progress CEO Bill Johnson would assume the same position at the combined company. So he did: On June 27, Johnson signed a three-year contract to helm Duke. When the merger went into effect on July 2, he assumed the position of CEO.

And then, on July 3 at midnight, Johnson resigned. The Wall Street Journal:

Outsiders considered the turn of events highly unusual. New chief executives almost never quit days after accepting an employment contract, three executive-compensation consultants said.

It “is very odd” for a CEO to exit days after taking command, said David Schmidt, a consultant at James F. Reda & Associates, a compensation consulting firm in New York that wasn’t involved with either company. “I have never seen that before.”

But let us not weep for our once and not-future king. Bill Johnson’s golden parachute was not affected by his short flight.

Despite his short-lived tenure, Mr. Johnson will receive exit payments worth as much as $44.4 million, according to Duke. That includes $7.4 million in severance, a nearly $1.4 million cash bonus, a special lump-sum payment worth up to $1.5 million and accelerated vesting of his stock awards, according to a Duke regulatory filing Tuesday night. Mr. Johnson gets the lump-sum payment as long as he cooperates with Duke and doesn’t disparage his former employer, the filing said.

Under his exit package, Mr. Johnson also will receive approximately $30,000 to reimburse him for relocation expenses.

So assuming that he worked for a full eight hours on Monday, that comes out to a nice $5.5 million an hour – some 765,000 times the national minimum wage. His relocation alone is over half the average annual salary for an American worker. Hopefully he didn’t move to near any of his former colleagues. How embarrassing to run into them at the country club, what with Johnson being unemployed and all!

Johnson’s replacement is former Duke CEO Jim Rogers, just starting his fourth day on the job. He’s probably walking around the office, bragging about his longevity.

Farewell, Bill Johnson. You had a great run.

The super-rich are currently hiding away between $21 trillion and $32 trillion in tax havens such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands: here.

11 thoughts on “$5.5 million an hour for US fat cat

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  3. The wealthiest 400 people in the US own more wealth than the bottom 185 million*. That’s crazy.

    Why isn’t this disparity front page news every day? Truthout serves a growing community of readers, writers and activists who are working to make the “news” reflect the realities that are actually affecting the lives of our fellow Americans.

    While the media obsesses about celebrity divorce and who Romney will pick to run with him, we’re going to keep pressing issues like poverty, education, civil liberties and the creeping militarization of our society.

    If you think it’s important to hold accountable not only candidates but entire political systems, Truthout is the place for you.


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