June 25th, 2010
11:04 AM ET

Golden parachute unlikely if Hayward leaves BP

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If embattled BP chief executive Tony Hayward leaves the company, he is not likely to walk with a massive windfall, compensation experts said.

While his departure is not imminent, speculation is rampant that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will cost Hayward his job. According to a prediction market run by Intrade, there is a 70% chance Hayward will be gone before the year is out.

That raises the question of how much severance he could receive if he steps down.

BP spokesman David Nicholas would not comment when asked about a possible severance plan, adding that Hayward remains the company's chief executive.

But experts say Hayward will probably not get a lucrative package of bonus money and stock awards that many U.S. companies give to outgoing CEOs as so-called golden parachutes.

"He will be lucky to get a single year's salary," said Paul Hodgson, a senior researcher at The Corporate Library, a governance group. "And even that could be mitigated in certain circumstances."

Hayward's salary last year was just over 1 million British pounds, or $1.5 million, according to BP's annual report. He also received a bonus worth more than $3 million and stock valued at nearly $1 million in 2009, the report said.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Gulf Oil Spill
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    Sounds like British companies have a more sensible tradition when CEO's are let go. It would be insulting in the extreme to all the victims of this oil spill if Hayward were let go with any kind of parachute.

    June 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  2. John Z

    Well, keep in mind that his predecesor left not long after the BP Texas City refinery explosion killed 15 men, and his golden parachute was over 18 million dollars. That is what he received for growing the company through cost cutting, even at the expense of safety. We'll see.

    June 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm |