Okay, you are getting fired. It happens. Now, did you sit down with your boss and negotiate a buyout of your contract? A nice lump sum of cash would be nice to tide you over until you get another job. Maybe stock options at a nice low price? That would do. What? Your employer is just showing you the door? He won’t negotiate? Obviously you are not an executive.
Consider the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, which agreed to a $78 million “severance payout” for its departing chairman, Daniel Vasella. (He was being fired! I told you you could do this.) CEOs do this all of the time. Why a company would want to pay someone for his no longer needed services is beyond me, but CEOs, they are special. (We know this because they tell us so.) Well, this deal caused a veritable shitstorm in the Swiss body politic. And not only did Novartis dump the payout plan along with Mr. Vasella but they had to tell shareholders that it had all been just a mistake. (Made by some stupid underling, I suppose.)
According to the New York Times, a gentleman of the name Thomas Minder, took this issue and used it to fuel a voter “initiative that gives shareholders of companies listed in Switzerland a binding say on the overall pay packages for executives and directors. In addition, companies would no longer be allowed to give bonuses to executives joining or leaving the business, or to executives when their company was taken over. Violations could result in fines equal to up to six years of salary and a prison sentence of up to three years.” (The italics are mine.)
Swiss voters passed this puppy with two thirds of the voters saying “Oui!”
I want this; I want this here in the U.S.; I want it now. CEOs have been stacking their own deck with hand chosen members of their company’s boards for years and have gotten ridiculous and unearned pay levels as a benefit, including such outrageous concepts as the “golden parachute.” Hey, if they get fired from the corporate penthouse, the only parachute they should get would be if they decide to leave by jumping out the window.