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A Short History of Golden Parachutes

Harvard Business Review

Golden parachutes can’t seem to stay out of the news. Golden parachutes like these are hardly novel in American business. Golden parachutes such are now paid out even when executives leave amid scandal. Firms began adopting golden parachute-style payout packages in the late 1970s. There was even more variation in the kinds of benefits provided by golden parachutes.

Shame On Our Apology Economy

Lead Change Blog

And I want to see leaders of public corporations held accountable to their misdeeds (including the forfeiture of any golden parachutes should they or their companies be found guilty of obvious criminal or fraudulent behaviors perpetrated on their consumers).

Stop Making CEO Pay a Political Issue

Harvard Business Review

Presidential candidates once campaigned on taxes, government spending, and foreign policy. But more recently, executive compensation has suddenly become a hot topic for winning the public’s approval. In the U.S.,

This is a Post on Leadership


Here is a paragraph describing a recent headline-dominating story about a fallen CEO and his (or her) golden parachute. “This is a motivational quote.”. This is a random sports figure’s name. The opening is a story about a childhood memory I’ve grossly exaggerated in order to tailor it to fit a post on leadership. Something about the high school football team I claim to have been on when really only went to one workout and then quit.

Can You Be Too Rich?

Harvard Business Review

They are hedge fund tycoons; “private equity” barons; privateers who have bought the natural resources of entire countries whole; CEOs with golden parachutes the size of small planets. Is there such a thing as too rich? Like most reasonable people, I agree whole-heartedly that people who accomplish greater, worthier, nobler things should be rewarded more than those who don’t. I’m not the World’s Last Communist, shaking his fist atop Karl Marx’s grave at the very idea of riches.

Dennis Kozlowski Was Not a Thief

Harvard Business Review

The directors needed Kozlowski to be convicted for a number of reasons, not the least of which was a half billion dollar golden parachute the company would owe Kozlowski if he was found not guilty. On January 17, Dennis Kozlowski will be released on parole by the State of New York after serving an 8 1/3 year sentence in the state’s tough prison system. Kozlowski is the former CEO of Tyco International.

How IBM's Sam Palmisano Redefined the Global Corporation

Harvard Business Review

In 2009 he called off the $7 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems in part due to Sun's egregious golden parachutes. In the 20th century, a select group of leaders — General Motor's Alfred Sloan, HP's David Packard and Bill Hewlett, and GE's Jack Welch — set the standard for the way corporations are run. In the 21st century only IBM's Sam Palmisano has done so.

The Great Splintering

Harvard Business Review

Today's world of bailouts, golden parachutes, sky-high financial-sector salaries — while middle incomes stagnate — seems to be exactly the reverse. I grew up a global orphan, and I call London my home today. The simple reason I chose to live there was this: first and foremost, I'd never met a city that let a mutt like me be myself. And yet, over the last several years or so, gradually, almost imperceptibly at first, the tenor of my city has changed.

The Compensation Silly Season

Harvard Business Review

Such surveillance gives board compensation committees the backbone to create reasonable plans that provide valid incentives, while eliminating egregious lump sum payments like golden parachutes and handshakes. Tis the season when public companies publish their 10Ks, complete with the Compensation Disclosure and Analysis section revealing the pay of their five most highly paid officers, including the highest paid of all, the CEO.