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Sailing Away on a Golden Parachute

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Sailing Away on a Golden Parachute

Sailing Away on a Golden Parachute

Sailing Away on a Golden Parachute

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We offer farewells to departing American CEOs, many of whom make more money by being shown the door than by hunkering down in the board room. Be proud: For every million dollars you leave with, you leave a million mistakes behind.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

The huge compensation and severance packages for corporate executives are getting more attention from investors and lawmakers. And now from our humorist Brian Unger, in today's Unger Report, Brian has this special farewell for the fired CEO.

BRIAN UNGER: It's been a long haul, Mr. and Ms. CEO. You've been running a publicly traded company for years and now your job is done. Because you've run that company right into the ground.

(Soundbite of music)

UNGER: Congratulations, you king of corporate incompetence and queen of catastrophe. After all your strategic bungling, inept stewardship, and mind-blowing lack of vision, it's time to stand down and walk out that door with the fattest, most laughable severance package this world has ever seen. Be proud. For every million dollars you leave with, you leave a million mistakes behind.

That's a legacy to be proud of. One that says to the world, have fun cleaning up my mess, sucker. I'll be in St. Barts if you need me.

(Soundbite of music)

Take comfort, Mr. and Ms. CEO. The best thing you ever did wasn't for the company but for yourself. You hired a lawyer more skilled than Houdini to engineer your escape and an employment contract so absurd that if it weren't legal, it would be the biggest heist in history.

You've inspired us, Bob Nardelli of Home Depot, Tom Frestone of Viacom, Carla Fiorina of H.P., Catherine West of JCPenney, and Mike Ovitz of Disney, just to name a few. While the rest of us, poor schlubs went through this life thinking we'd get rich working hard, you showed us that the real money is in getting canned.

For every opportunity, you missed it. For every chance, you blew it. For every stock option, you backdated it. And for being a bonehead, you gave yourself a bonus. That takes courage. You captains of industry, you put that titan in Titanic. Because when you saw an iceberg ahead, you steer your company right for it. In fact, when it comes to navigating the stormy sees of global business, you're Captain Hopeless with no hands on deck.

So you Nostra-dumb-ass of the NASDAQ, from every mom and pop pension-holder worried about the gas bill, from every housekeeper you paid less than minimum wage, and from every waiter you stiffed, we salute you for showing a hard-working nation that getting hit by the door on the way out never felt so good.

And that is today's Unger Report. I'm Brian Unger.

(Soundbite of music)

CHADWICK: And this addendum to Brian's salute. Attention, CEOs and the people who love them, it turns out 2006 was a bad year for you, actually. In a report released today by an outplacement consulting firm.

LUKE BURBANK, host:

Alex, outplacement, that's just basically like passive-aggressive talk for fired.

CHADWICK: Fired. Exactly.

BURBANK: Okay.

CHADWICK: An outplacement consulting firm, the Challenger Group, says that a record number of CEOs were outplaced last year and 2007 doesn't look like it's going to be much better.

BURBANK: Really, really tugs at your heart, Alex.

CHADWICK: Okay. So the firm's founder, John Challenger, says if the economy does slow, shareholders are going to be much more likely to hold CEOs accountable for slumping earnings.

BURBANK: Which will force them to use their diamond parachutes, made, as the name would indicate, from diamonds. Sparkle on.

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