September 26, 2008

Cornerstone Executive Development Group Announces the First Annual Corporate Greed Awards of 2008 on America’s Top Coach.Com

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- As announced today on America's Top, the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has earned the highly paid CEOs behind these tanked companies a tie for 1st place in the "First Annual Corporate Greed Awards", says management guru Stephen Xavier, CEO of Cornerstone Executive Development Group ( The American people are furious about executive compensation, notes Xavier, citing Daniel Mudd, Fannie's CEO who almost walked out with an estimated $9 million package, while Richard Syron of Freddie Mac seemed headed for about $13 million in severance, until the government revoked both deals this weekend. "Perhaps the 'golden handcuffs,' as well as golden parachutes, we're giving greedy CEOs today should be traded up for the stainless steel variety," says Xavier, who is also known as America's Top Coach and counts heavyweights Disney, Goldman Sachs and Northup Grumman among his Fortune 500 clients.

Of course, Xavier adds, those cancelled payouts seem stingy compared with Home Depot, where the Board gave their departing CEO Bob Nardelli a $210 million parachute last year after he was ousted for poor stock performance. It's interesting to note that Nardelli's total severance package was seven times the $30 million Home Depot set aside last June for stores and employees that provide good customer service. Also interesting is that he was recently named CEO of another struggling company, Chrysler, and is already looking for a government bailout -- all reason for giving him 2nd place.

Xavier noted that his criteria for selecting Award finalists included especially high marks for requests for government bailouts for public companies and in general he factored the ratio of compensation awarded to CEOs compared to company losses.

So who else is ahead in the award stakes? Xavier's picks as the biggest Wall Street CEO headed for personal riches this year also includes 3rd place Jeff Immelt of General Electric, who makes $19.6 million while stock has lost a third of its value off its 2007 peak and shareholders have lost $141 billion.

Then there's 4th place Rick Wagoner of General Motors, who announced slash and burn tactics for his employees this spring while watching his company lose $39 billion, but still received a 64 percent boost in pay to $15.7 million.

Says Xavier, "It is important to note that Wagoner and his other 'Big Three' counterparts, including Nardelli at Chrysler and Alan Mulally at Ford, who gets 5th place, have now stepped up lobbying efforts in Washington DC looking for a handout to 'save the industry' a la Freddie and Fannie. Perhaps these leaders should step down first as an important signal to demonstrate their true commitment to saving the American auto industry -- taking the hit for their own poor judgment and lack of leadership,"

Finally "special mentions" go to the infamous CEOs who have taken the nation's airlines through bankruptcy while posting personal profits, including Doug Steenland of Northwest Airlines, who is still on board. Steenland has become the public face of an airline perceived as uncaring about its employees and unresponsive to customers, yet if the merger with Delta takes place this year, he could end up with a hefty severance package worth $18.3 million.

Just a month ago, the union representing pilots at United Airlines urged their chief executive, Glenn F. Tilton to resign, blaming his leadership for plummeting customer service, employee morale and financial performance. In 2007, Tilton was rewarded with $10.3 million in compensation.

Xavier says it is about time that Boards and stockholders lost patience with CEOs who have risked the fiscal health of their companies and held them accountable, not their companies nor stockholders, which includes ensuring the executives cannot benefit from the bailout and severing any golden parachutes. He also named all those CEOs who were either almost recipients of Washington's largesse (Mudd and Syron) as well as those just lobbying for bailouts (Detroit's Big Three) as entrants in the first Corporate Greed Hall of Fame winners for their reckless behavior.

    Press Contact:    LA: Cindy Rakowitz/BR Public Relations    818 783 3307/[email protected]  

America's Top

CONTACT: LA, Cindy Rakowitz of BR Public Relations, +1-818-783-3307,[email protected], for America's Top

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