- $4.8 million cash severance
- Vesting of $3.5 million stock
- Performance bonus (!) pro-rated based on the portion of the year he served as CEO and United’s meeting stated performance targets.
- Full family benefits for 4 years (until he becomes eligible for medicare)
- Flight benefits and parking (and cash to cover taxes on those benefits) for life.
- Company car.
It turns out though that he walked away with even more than many realized. In fact he received $36.8 million since his ouster.
Smisek, 61, received about $6.6 million in cash plus equity awards valued at $29.4 million, according to a proxy statement filed Friday by Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc., the airline’s parent.
…Smisek’s exit package also included about $786,000 in various perquisites, such as lifetime flight benefits and a reimbursement for related tax payments, according to Friday’s filing.
If he’s convicted, pleads guilty, or no contest to a “crime of moral terpitude” relating to his service with the airline, he loses benefits and may have to pay back his severance and stock award. Apparently only $10.1 million is ‘at risk’ based on the result of any prosecution that could follow from his involvement in paying off a public official. (But it’s the Gulf carriers getting improper help from their governments, right?)
Under Smisek management came to resent their customers and their employees.
- Frequent customers were called “over-entitled”
- And employees are blamed for the airline’s problems
- They straight up lie to customers when hiding information from them.
- United’s twitter team diagnosed one challenge for the carrier as having too many customers.
It’s that toxic environment that United’s new CEO Oscar Munoz has sought to turn around through better employee relationships, and modest customer experience investments.
Surely the $37 million could have been put to better use. Smisek’s employment contract couldn’t possibly have needed to be so generous — in order to retain his kind of ‘top talent’ — that he becomes an even wealthier man after having been exposed bribing a public official. This says more about flaws in boards and publicly traded companies, though, than it says about United.