$56 Million Golden Parachute If Heinz CEO Is Fired

A $56 million golden parachute awaits the lucky CEO of Heinz if he gets fired, and it seems all the hand-wringing over excessive corporate compensation has not in any meaningful way impacted the situation wherein execs can cash out handsomely when shown the door — either via corporate takeovers, or even just poor performance.

The $56 million golden parachute appears to be the former — according to Christian Science Monitor, Heinz CEO William Johnson may be out of a job soon.

The Heinz boss’ $56 million golden parachute is part of a larger takeover deal for the brand family after a purchase last month by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital.

And while Heinz spokesman Michael Mullen says Johnson earned the dough by “creating billions of dollars in shareholder value,” a nearly $60 million severance package is something that seems a bit out of control for many Americans who struggle to make ends meet.

The site explains:

“The deal lets him walk away with $40 million at any time if he chooses. He would get another $16 million if the new owners were to let him go … In addition, Johnson is entitled to a payout of $99.7 million in vested stock and $57 million in deferred compensation benefits that he accrued over his 30-year career with Heinz. That means he could walk away with a total of $212.7 million.”

So the Heinz CEO is likely to get, worst case scenario for him, a $56 million golden parachute — can workers expect the same after the big 3G Capital buyout?

Don’t bet the spoils just yet — according to Yahoo, the issue of Heinz employee job security was raised along with news of Johnson’s $56 million golden parachute.

Heinz Dip and Squeeze
While the CEO says the more capital available to the company, the “safer people will be,” the site reports 3G isn’t shy about employee cuts when in the midst of a takeover:

“Heinz hasn’t made any announcements about layoffs. But 3G Capital, which is best known for its purchase of Burger King and its role in the deal that created Anheuser-Busch InBev, is known for aggressively cutting costs.”

Do you find a $56 million golden parachute to be symptomatic of what’s wrong with corporate America?