The virtual collapse of Washington Mutual was a tragedy for many thousands of customers and clients. Everyone, however, is breathing a sigh of relief: he recently hired CEO Alan H. Fishman has landed on his feet. He only worked at WaMu for 17 days and will receive roughly $20 million. Thinking on the bright side, just think how much he would have cost to fire if he ran a successful company. This is a budget basement deal. I am also using this opportunity to demand my own termination at George Washington Law School.
Lest anyone would object to this compensation package, it is only a little over a million dollars a day to ride a company into the dust of financial ruin.
This includes a $7.5 million bonus but a $11.6 severance package for his many days of loyal service. My question is whether, after only two weeks in the job, Fishman actually knows where the payment office is in the headquarters.
It is important to note that Fishman is modest in comparison to former American International Group (AIG) CEO Martin Sullivan who received a $47 million severance package after leading his company to financial ruin. (Notably, his successor at AIG Chief Executive Robert Willumstad declined a $22 million severance package because he failed to achieve a restructuring plan). Stanley O’Neal at Merrill Lynch walked away with $66 million, shortly before the company was taken over by Bank of America. Indeed, it is great to be fired today. Ken Thompson was thrown out of Wachovia in June and got $5 million while Chuck Prince was forced out at Citigroup and given $16 million. Even John McCain’s financial adviser Carly Fiorina received $45 million including a $21.5 million severance package from Hewlett-Packer. Fiorina insists that it was just $40 million in severance. Fannie Mae’s Daniel Mudd and Freddie Mac’s Richard Syron received huge severance packages after leaving just before criminal investigations were launched (Mudd earned $11.6 million last year, and Syron made $18.3 million). I feel like an idiot. I have been trying to succeed at work.
As of today, I am announcing my intent to be fired from the George Washington faculty for a comparable severance salary. I have worked at GW for 19 years. That comes to 6935 days or $6,935,000,000. I will go in for my check on Monday, but allow me to thank all of my students and colleagues for their hard work and friendship. My termination is a bitter thing, but my $7 billion severance will at least give me some solace in my golden years.
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