CEOs' Golden Parachutes Have Cost HP $80m Since 2005

Brad Chacos

With the economy in the crapper, a lot of folks are buckling down, tightening their belts and saving money any way possible. Not HP. No, we’re not talking about the company’s $10.3 billion acquisition of Autonomy; we're talking about the cash HP’s shelled out in severance packages to ousted revolving-door CEOs the past few years. One website counted up the dollars and cents and came up with an astonishing figure: those golden parachutes cost HP around $80 million since 2005.

Robert McGarvey at Internet Evolution started his calculations – which are based off of figures reported by major news organizations – with the firing of Carly Fiorina in 2005. After the stock market yawned about the Compaq merger, Fiorina got the boot. Tally up her severance, pension, stock options and more, and Fiorina walked off with around $42 million – not too shabby. Her replacement, Mark Hurd, walked off with $12.2 mil after a scandalicious end to his four year tenure, and it would have been even more if he hadn’t quickly landed a job at Oracle. Then there’s Leo; Apotheker reportedly was handed a $25.2 million severance package along with his pink slip, despite only lasting 11 months on the job.

Add those totals up, and you’ll see that HP has paid out a reported $79.4 million in severance packages to CEOs over the past six years. That’s not even counting the big money paid out for ho-hum (at best) acquisitions like Compaq and Palm. Those kinds of numbers caused Forbes contributor Eric Jackson to recently lash out , and not at the departed CEOs:

“Leo Apotheker is the worst CEO hire in the last decade,” Jackson wrote “… However, never forget who hired Leo 11 months ago: the board of directors. These guys are a bunch of clowns, surpassed in incompetence only by Yahoo!’s board.”

Oomph! So what do you think, Maximum PC readers? Can Meg Whitman be HP’s savior, or will she end up riding yet another golden parachute out of the company’s headquarters?

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