Meg Whitman's starting salary as HP CEO? $1 per year

Meg Whitman starts off with a buck and a lot of stock. Léo Apotheker walks away with millions.

Meg Whitman is not the first new chief executive to start off with a $1 per year salary, which serves as a symbol that she has to earn her keep more than anything else.

As Hewlett-Packard's CEO, Whitman can buy 1.9 million HP shares over the next eight years -- although Whitman cannot cash out the majority of those options until HP's stock reaches 120 percent or more of the company’s current share price. After the bell on Thursday, the share price was $23.78, which is up ever-so-slightly.

On the flip side, former HP CEO and president Léo Apotheker will be walking away with a sizable chunk of change, although AllThingsD reports that his exit is actually cheaper than expected considering his severance was up in the air due to the suddenness of his departure.

According to the 8-K form that HP filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, Apotheker will get the following, among a few other perks:

  • Severance amounting to $7.2 million payable in installments over the next 18 months
  • $3,557,800 of restricted stock
  • An aggregate of 424,000 of the 728,000 performance-based restricted stock units (Apotheker waived the right to the rest as they would have vested on October 31, 2012.)
  • Relocation costs for him and his wife back to France or Belgium
  • Up to an additional $300,000 for any loss Apotheker incurs on the sale of his California residence
  • An extra $2.4 million under the Hewlett-Packard Company 2005 "Pay-for-Results Plan," which is intended to reflect nearly 11 months of service

That last one almost cries out as ridiculous considering that HP's market value has plummeted by $38 billion since Apotheker was hired for the job.