William Johnson, Chairman, President and CEO of Heinz, has a line of financial plans that entitle him to a whopping total of $212.7 million, should he be fired in light of the company’s recent acquisition. In addition to his golden parachute — worth $56 million — Johnson would also walk away from the company with vested stock and deferred compensation benefits.
In what became the food industry’s biggest acquisition ever, Warren Buffet’s Bershire Hathaway and 3G Capital bought Heinz for $23.3 billion last month. At a press conference, Johnson praised the acquisition as an opportunity for Heinz to grow in the global arena. His position with the company is in question however, because 3G Capital is notorious for making major budget cuts. But Johnson’s parachute and owed assets would leave him far from empty-handed if he is let go of.
If he chooses to leave, Johnson’s deal provides him with an automatic $40 million. If he is fired, an additional $16 million will be added. And with his vested stock at $99.7 million and his $57 million in defferred compensation benefits, Johnson’s payout remains quite hefty for the 64- year-old’s 15-year stint at the head of the company.
Michael Mullen, the spokesman for Heinz, says that the financial agreements in place are to acknowledge Johnson’s achievements in “creating billions of dollars in shareholder value.” with the company.