John Wren’s $41 Million ‘Golden Coffin’

This is one of the most outrageous executive perks I’ve ever heard of. The heirs of John Wren, the CEO of Omnicom Group (OMC), will receive $41 million from the company at the time of his death.

At Omnicom Group, the chief executive gets paid until death does him part — and then even after that.
The holding company offers CEO John Wren and other top employees a perk commonly known as a “golden coffin” — a death benefit granted to heirs after the officer’s ultimate demise. Omnicom investors today rejected a proposal calling on the company to rein in this form of generosity, which could mean an additional $41 million in payouts to the 57-year-old Mr. Wren’s survivors.
The proposal’s proponent, Amalgamated Bank’s LongView investment fund, argued that it makes no sense for shareholders to make payments to the CEO in return for no services. It added that senior executives have ample time while alive to build a pension fund, buy life insurance or engage in other estate-planning activities.
“Instead of pay-for-performance, golden-coffin provisions are simply ‘pay for no pulse,'” said Scott Zdrazil, director of corporate governance at Amalgamated Bank of New York.

Posted by on May 26th, 2010 at 1:02 pm

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