CEOs Live the Good Afterlife

Lavish 'severance' payments go to heirs if bosses die at the helm
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2008 9:23 AM CDT
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts tops the list of CEOs who will get huge posthumous paychecks, with total benefits at almost $300 million.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – Corporate critics who say there is not enough connection between performance and executive pay may be gravely concerned to learn that many execs will keep getting sky-high bonuses when they're 6 feet under. A Wall Street Journal review finds dozens of CEOs will receive "golden coffin" payments if they die in office, sometimes in excess of $100 million.

"We think the compensation has been grossly too high already," said a shareholder whose protests helped convince Comcast to nix plans to keep paying one exec $2 million for 5 years after his death. "There's no need to pay them more when they're dead." Counters an Occidental spokesman of its CEO's $101.9 million coffin: It "isn't a death benefit per se—it's what his family would get upon his death."