HP blows nearly $47 million on its CEO follies

HP spent $30.41 million in total compensation for ousted CEO Leo Apotheker. New CEO Meg Whitman landed $16.52 million in total compensation.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

For HP, fiscal 2011 was the year of two CEOs---Leo Apotheker and Meg Whitman---and it cost the company dearly.

In its proxy statement filed Friday, HP outlined the compensation packages for its relatively new CEO and the parting gift for Apotheker.

The damage? Whitman took a salary of $1 for fiscal 2011 and option awards worth $16.15 million. Toss in other competition and the grand total comes to $16.52 million rounded.

And then there's Apotheker, who wrestled with strategy, communications and a decision whether to spin off HP's PC unit. Simply put, the Apotheker reign was a disaster.

However, that disaster was $30.41 million in total compensation. Apotheker landed $1.15 million in salary, $6.4 million in bonus, $17.66 million in stock awards and another $5.2 million in other. Apotheker made a bundle for just a few months work.

Add it up and you're at a $46.9 million tab for two CEOs in a year. And that's simplifying the equation a bit. Interim CEO Cathy Lesjak also made out nicely. She had $11 million in total compensation, but that's worth it given Lesjak held the fort while HP was going through a messy transition.

As for the footnotes in HP's compensation tale, Apotheker's separation agreement deserves a callout. HP said:

On September 22, 2011, Mr. Apotheker terminated as President and Chief Executive Officer of HP, and HP and Mr. Apotheker subsequently entered into a Separation Agreement and Release (the "Separation Agreement"). The Separation Agreement confirms that Mr. Apotheker would receive certain compensation and benefits under the terms of his then-existing employment agreement, including $7.2 million in cash severance payments (subject to his continued compliance with certain non-compete and non-solicitation provisions) and accelerated vesting of 156,000 shares of restricted stock. The Separation Agreement also provides for Mr. Apotheker to receive a fiscal 2011 bonus of $2.4 million, reflecting his nearly 11 months of service with HP, and certain relocation and repatriation benefits to assist him in returning his family to France or Belgium, along with certain financial protections in connection with the sale of his California residence. In addition, Mr. Apotheker retains the right to receive future payouts under two of the three PRU awards granted to him in connection with his commencement of employment, subject to the company's satisfaction of applicable performance conditions. Mr. Apotheker's third PRU award was cancelled.


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