JOHN HAMMERGREN: CEO OF DRUG DISTRIBUTOR MCKESSON GETS $159 MILLION RETIREMENT PACKAGE, THE BIGGEST IN HISTORY AND ONLY AFTER WORKING THERE FOR 17 YEARS

CEO of drug distributor gets record-breaking $159m retirement package making that the biggest pension in U.S. history

By Paul Thompson

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.

 
Pay day: John Hammergren received a $159m retirement package as he is leaving McKesson Corp. after 17 yearsPay day: John Hammergren received a $159m retirement package as he is leaving McKesson Corp. after 17 years

 
Big moves: The drug company waived some standard operating procedures resulting in the massive payoutBig moves: The drug company waived some standard operating procedures resulting in the massive payout

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.

 Mr Hammergren spent a long time with the company and joined in 1996, meaning he has 17 years of service.

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.

 
Edward WhitacreRupert Murdoch (right) is the highest-paid current executive as he made $73.9million in the last year
 
 

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.

The highest-paid executive who continues to head his company is Rupert Murdoch, who took home $73.9million in the last year.
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