I Quit: Washington Mutual CEO Fishman Gets $20 Million for 17 days of Work — Before the Whole Company Was Sold

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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39 thoughts on “I Quit: Washington Mutual CEO Fishman Gets $20 Million for 17 days of Work — Before the Whole Company Was Sold

  1. Federal regulation to protect consumers results in $7-billion loss for Bank of America…

    Bank of America marks down the value of its business by $10.4 billion citing a new rule letting the government set fees merchants are charged for accepting debit cards. The markdown led to a loss for the quarter of $7.3 billion, or 77 cents a share, co…

  2. Yea, funny huh! they also get to keep your money to collect intrest, I just left the bank to hear that the bank took a cash deposit and then said they can not clear it until Tues, what is that crap, IT’S cash!. due to the transition between WAMA and CHASE there transactions are held up.

    FUNYY huh. and of coarse there are no managers available and they don’t have a CEO….

    THANK GOD FOR INTERNET INFORMATION>>>

  3. “One example of why I think this is because of what I have seen of lotto winners. What I have observed is that when poor people win a lottery, they will more often than not go off and have a big splurge and blow it all after a few years (or even months).”
    ———————————————————————

    Dang it! When rich people blow their money they can go to the govt. to bail them out. I agree, the rich are different!

  4. Richard,

    You’re looking at it backwards.

    Mespo,

    Have you ever read “Down and Out in Paris and London?” or “Keep the Aspidistra Flying?” both by Orwell?

  5. Fitzgerald to Hemingway: “The rich are different from us.” Hemingway to Fitzgerald in reply: “Yes, they have more money.”

    Attitude is everything. –mespo727272

  6. Gyges

    I suppose that what you said is true in the sense that we are all human beings and the amount of money we have doesn’t change our essential human character. And of course, some of the poor in America are poor because of hard luck or other bad circumstances.

    But in another sense I don’t think that poor people are no different than rich people in terms of their moral character, work ethic, habits of life or education level – especially in America. For most people most of the time, we reap what we sow. We are today what we chose to be ten years ago.

    One example of why I think this is because of what I have seen of lotto winners. What I have observed is that when poor people win a lottery, they will more often than not go off and have a big splurge and blow it all after a few years (or even months). When more middle class or upper middle class people win they tend to save & invest at least a portion of it.

    Generally, whatever character and patterns of life a person had before they win the lottery tends to go with them when they suddenly become rich. And more often than not, the lack of character that makes people poor (or at least causes them to stay poor), only causes them to become poor again over time even when someone dumps a wad of cash in their lap.

    So saying that poor people are only different from rich people by virtue of the money they have – I would say no. If you took all the money away from America’s rich and gave it to all of America’s poor people – ten years later, most of those plundered rich people would be working hard somewhere on some job or some personal business venture – and most of those poor people would be broke again with nothing but memories of how they pissed it all away.

  7. One of the big differences between rich people and average people is that average people work hard whereas rich people work smart. You don’t get paid what you are worth – you get paid what you negotiate. Alan H. Fishman is a smart negotiator. Washington Mutual was a dumb bank.

    Whine and complain all you want about what this man did but would any of you turn down an opportunity to talk a dumb bank out of $20M?

    It should surprize no one that a dumb bank is now a defunct bank.

  8. From NYT,

    “During its weeklong deliberations, Congress made many changes to the Bush administration’s original proposal to bail out the financial industry, but one overarching aspect of the initial plan that remains is the vast discretion it gives to the Treasury secretary.”

    I knew cheney would get this incredible power. It was clear that’s what he wanted more than anything else in the bailout. There is no way he should have this power and Congress has folded, or looks like it’s ready to fold, again. This is a non functioning “govt.”

  9. […] I Quit: Washington Mutual CEO Fishman Gets $20 Million for 17 days of Work — Before the Whole… The virtual collapse of Washington Mutual was a tragedy for many thousands of customers and clients. Everyone, however, […] […]

  10. I see a bright future for preemptive outplacement agencies, working hard to get their “clients” actively fired and then finding them some amenable real property to enjoy the fruits of such hard labor in peace.

    Duh… I just realized that actually exists: it’s called the F.B.I.

  11. Are there potential laws preventing such compensations, given the unique circumstances of the financial collapse?

    I have directly learned that it is difficult or impossible to enforce Codes of Ethics and Oaths of Office and violations of those public trust pledges are rarely, if ever, litigated.

    As a former LEO who took an oath and adhered to stringent codes of ethics, I find that today many people ignore those codes and oaths to which they swore (or affirmed).

  12. Gyges:

    Great idea for the futures market for “non-employables.” How about some derivatives for “non-talkers,” “non-runners for office,” and my personal favorite “non-nancy-graces’s.”

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