CEO of drug distributor gets record-breaking $159m retirement package making that the biggest pension in U.S. history
- John Hammergren of McKesson is leaving the drug company and taking millions with him after working there for 17 years
- Rupert Murdoch is highest-paid current executive with $73.9m
A drug company executive set a new record for the biggest retirement pay package in U.S. corporate history, prompting experts to brand his remuneration package ‘excessive’.
John Hammergren, the outgoing CEO drug distributor McKesson, brought home $159million on top of his salary, which has risen to more than $50million a year.
The Wall Street Journal reported the outlandish bonus, saying that in their latest corporate filing, McKesson disclosed that had Mr Hammergren voluntarily departed on March 31 this year, his pension would have been $159m.
McKesson, a drug distribution company, normally imposes an early retirement penalty on executives who quit before they turn 62, but they waived that in the case of Mr Hammergren, who is just 54.
This concession alone meant that his pension was 28 per cent higher than it should have been.
The Journal cites Equilar, a company that examines executive pay rates, as saying that over the past seven years, Mr Hammergren took home more than $355m in cash and realized stocks.
He became chief executive in 2001 and under his tenure the company’s stock price has more than tripled.
Despite this, James Reda, a New York executive-compensation consultant, said that he was staggered at the package Mr Hammergren was entitled to.
Top contenders: The previous record holder was Edward Whitacre (left) who got $84.7m in 2006 when he left AT&T. Rupert Murdoch (right) is the highest-paid current executive as he made $73.9million in the last year
He said: ‘I’ve never seen a pension that high’.
The second-largest retirement bonus on record is that of the former CEO of AT&T back in 2006, when Edward Whitacre received $84.7million when he retired.