Ford CFO Leclair Unfurls His $4m – $5m Golden Parachute, Retires

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
ford cfo leclair unfurls his 4m 8211 5m golden parachute retires

Talk about getting out while the getting’s good… Ford Motor Company has just announced that Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair will retire Nov. 1 “after an accomplished 32-year career.” Ford CEO Alan Mulally performed Leclair’s last rites for the press. “Don’s expertise and business acumen have been invaluable to Ford. Under his leadership, Ford has made significant progress in lowering costs, improving quality, improving efficiency, divesting non-core assets, improving our balance sheet and moving us to our One Ford.” Improving our balance sheet? Is that PR humor of some kind? Anyway, that’s all FoMoCo’s got to say about Donny’s exit, stage right. Of course. it’s no coincidence that Mr. Leclair is leaving the family firm at a time when the automaker’s share price is so far down the waste pipe that it’s only a matter of time before Ford gets de-listed from the stock exchange and files for bankruptcy. Then when Ford applies for a REAL bailout– none of that $25b “retooling” loan nonsense– there will surely be some kind of executive accountability proviso that would tear some big ass gashes in Leclair’s severance pay, pension, health care, free cars, jet travel, etc. Meanwhile, Leclair banks $4.1 and $5m upon his retirement, according to Ford’s 2008 proxy statement (p. 65). Lewis Booth – who played a leading role in the successful transformation of Ford of Europe and Mazda during the past decade – will become the company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. [thanks to ChrisHaak for the update]

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4 of 12 comments
  • GS650G GS650G on Oct 10, 2008

    Someone had to exercise some options before they turn into pumpkins. Granted he had 32 in and was probably due to retire but it looks real bad. Almost as sick as the head of WaMu who stands to collect 14 million in pay after three weeks on the job. These guys may have been promised these benefits by a willing BOD in good times but surely they can write in exceptions, like total collapse of the stock price, that negate multi million dollar payouts. That is real pay for performance. If they don't get their shit together on this the gov'ment is going to start dictating what execs make and that is not good. Political hacks should not be deciding on CSPAN what a CEO somewhere should make. It might draw attention to what some of them are making and why. How can I get a gig as a board member of some failing company that has millions tucked away. As long as the final check clears it looks very lucrative.

  • RobertSD RobertSD on Oct 10, 2008

    I guess my point, and forgive me any insult I may have unjustly thrust, is that unlike a golden parachutes for, say, some the current banking directors, Leclairs', whether he's leaving to beat the titanic shrinking or just worn out after 2 long years of trying to balance the books, has not unjustly earned his money. Most of Fords' problems are not related to his actions - his actions, if anything, have bought Ford more time so that the new management can do their best to straighten things out. As such, I believe the context of golden parachute is certainly where I"m having the issue

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Oct 10, 2008

    Robert, I don't think you insulted anyone, only misapplied the rant label. As far as Mr. Leclairs compensation, I don't see a big problem with anything I have heard, but I am surprised he would get a golden parachute. If he really had been at Ford for 32 years, was there really a big market for him that justified a big golden parachute? I thought the justification for parachutes was to get someone to take a risk by coming over to a NEW company. By providing a parachute, you take away the fear of someone coming to a new position and it not working out as planned. OTOH, if he got the same money as a retirement benefit, I really wouldn't care. I suspect though, there are lots of other retirement benefits, too, though. It's just a product of the transparency in CEO pay. Now everyone near CEO wants what everyone, in every other industry and situation, gets. What we ought to demand is more pay transparency for all positions. I am thinking if it worked for them, it would work for the rest.

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Oct 11, 2008

    @Landcrusher You mean pay for performance. I'm cool with someone making big time dollars if they did something to earn it.