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United Airlines CEO Gets $36.8 Million Severance Package After Resignation Triggered By Federal Probe

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I find myself posting yet again about another bizarre CEO golden parachute package.  This time, Jeff Smisek, the former CEO of United Airlines, is set to receive $36.8 million in severance pay and other benefits following a federal corruption probe into United’s relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  Smisek resigned as United’s CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board in September 2015. 

Smisek’s pay package includes a $4.9 million severance component, $1.7 million as part of United’s annual incentive program, and $29.4 million in equity-based awards.  Additionally, Smisek is set to receive the following perks from United:

  • Smisek will receive lifetime flight privileges and parking benefits at United’s hub airports in Houston and Chicago;
  • Smisek will continue to get life insurance coverage and he and his dependents will continue to receive health insurance coverage until he qualifies for Medicare; and
  • Smisek will get to keep his company car which he received while serving as CEO.

Ultimately, United’s board could force a clawback of up to $10,1 million of Smisek’s severance payment.  Upon Smisek’s resignation from United, Oscar Munoz took over as CEO.  Should corporations still continue to reward questionable executive behavior with such lavish severance package awards?     


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