Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #247: The Legend of the Golden Coffin

A tip of my viking war helmet to the indefatigable Nikki Finke for this report of Disney CEO Robert Iger's golden coffin.

No, I'm not saying that he's got a coffin made of gold, but he can definitely afford it, since his contract with Disney dictates that he (or to be more exact, his heirs) will get millions in extras if he kicks the bucket while on the job.

First thing I have to say is that I hope Iger's heirs love him, or he should consider hiring a food taster for his business lunches at the Ivy.

Second thing, if he dies on the job, and comes back to life as one of the walking undead, he will still get these extras, only they'll be paid in

Sorry, couldn't resist.

But seriously folks, just think about it for a minute. If Iger dies in harness, as the Brits like to say, he will still be sucking millions out of the company like a vampire risen from the grave.

Now I'm not saying that he, and other CEOs shouldn't have some sort of life insurance, they're free to have as much as they can afford, and the companies themselves should insure their CEOs. Because after one kicks it, replacing them is an expensive pain in the ass. My problem is that this is not really insurance, it's just another way for Hollywood's management elite to keep millions of dollars out of the hands of the people who actually own these companies, I'm talking about the shareholders, and in their own pockets, even after they're dead. This is a man who made over $58 million in the past two years, can't he afford his own insurance, or maybe an RRSP that can be tranferred to his heirs if he dies early?

If you think shareholders are mad at CEOs earning above their performance, imagine how they'll feel when the CEO is still earning long after he's worm bait.

Well, you don't really have to imagine it, because it's happening right now, and the phrase "conniption fit" is a good way to describe it. The Disney shareholders are having their annual meeting, and a lot of people are pissed at not only this, but the loss of 47% of their share value, and their apparent lack of any say in how the company they own is run.

My advice, buy some insurance, make sure he doesn't drink Crisco as a soft drink, and tell him to save some money for the family, because their shareholders don't want to keep paying for the dead. They're already supporting Walt Disney's frozen brain, and that's enough for them.

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