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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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik