Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

AOL’s Golden Parachutes: $28.4 Million for Four Former Executives

Want to make money? Become a former AOL executive. The Web publisher paid out $28.4 million in cash and stock to four top executives it replaced last year.

The payouts are part of a broader reorg CEO Tim Armstrong has put into place since coming aboard from Google (GOOG) a year ago. And most of the eye-popping sums are really a reflection of employment contracts the executives signed with the company when it was run by Time Warner (TWX). Still, they’re big numbers:

  • Former CEO Randy Falco: $11.6 million
  • Former COO Ron Grant: $7 million
  • Former COO Kim Partoll, who replaced Grant last June, but left in September: $6.2 million
  • Former CFO Nisha Kumar: $3.6 million

Some of these payouts will keep going. Falco and Grant, for instance, will continue to be on the AOL payroll through the end of this year. Falco will get $1 million in salary, plus a $3.25 million cash bonus, while Grant will earn $750,000 and a $1.6 million bonus.

And as PaidContent notes, CTO Ted Cahall, who made $1.6 million last year, received a “retention payment” of $354,000 on Jan. 15. Ten days later, Armstrong announced that Cahall was being replaced, too.

To put the payouts in perspective: AOL (AOL) said it spent $190 million on restructuring charges last year as it began shedding a third of its workforce.

[Image credit: DVIDSHUB]


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work