On July 28, 2006, then Pfizer CEO Henry McKinnell resigned from his position as CEO of the company, receiving a benefit and compensation package of $180 million in the process. The package, according to SEC filings, included $82 million in pension benefits, $78 million in deferred compensation, a $12 million severance and $2 million in bonus payments.

Henry McKinnell began his career with the pharmaceutical company in the early 1970s and held various positions over the course of 30 years until he was appointed chairman and CEO of Pfizer in 2001. Henry McKinnell was a determined advocate of trade sanctions against nations that would not honor the company's patents and intellectual property, leading many to view him as a ruthless businessman who only concentrated on the bottom line. During his time as CEO, McKinnell also became known as a hard line negotiator and led the company into multiple mergers and acquisitions, increasing the company's size and scope. However as a result of the stock-for-stock transactions during these mergers Pfizer shares sank approximately 40% during his leadership.

As investor dissatisfaction grew, amidst reports of McKinnell's elaborate salary and benefits package, along with the overall poor performance of the company's shares, McKinnell was pressured into vacating his position of CEO. To this day, the $180 million golden handshake that Henry McKinnell received on his way out is still one of the largest severance packages ever awarded. (For more, see Executive Compensation: How Much Is Too Much? and Evaluating Executive Compensation.)

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Common Interview Questions for Business Analysts

    Identify some of the most common job interview questions asked of business analyst candidates, and learn the responses that will make you stand out.
  2. Professionals

    7 Careers That No Longer Exist

    Learn how technology and innovation has led to the near-extinction and elimination of seven careers that once employed hundreds of thousands of people.
  3. Wealth Management

    Warren Buffet’s Frugal, So Why Aren’t You?

    Aside from his renowned investing prowess, Buffet is legendarily frugal.
  4. Economics

    Management Strategies From A Top CEO

    Jack Welch is a legend in the business world: during the two decades he was CEO of General Electric, the company’s value rose by 4000%.
  5. Investing Basics

    How MasterCard Pulled Off a Buyback

    Stock buyback refers to publicly traded companies buying back their shares from shareholders. Why would they do that?
  6. Investing News

    Betamax, International Symbol Of Bad Marketing, Is Finally Dead

    Sony Betamax is the business textbook case study of a company's spectacular oversight in assessing consumer demand. Now, Sony is finallly discontinuing it.
  7. Personal Finance

    The Story of Uber: How a Snowy Night in Paris Created a $70 Billion Behemoth

    Uber's journey to become the world's most highly valued private startup.
  8. Entrepreneurship

    Steve Jobs And The Apple Story

    Steve Jobs passed away in October of 2011 at the age of 56. His accomplishments go far beyond a brief summary, but here are some highlights.
  9. Investing

    5 CEOs Who Returned to Save the Day

    Instead of toying with trial and error, many struggling companies have adopted a tried and true "founder knows best" strategy, bringing back former CEOs.
  10. Investing

    6 Famous Words of Advice From Business Leaders

    Here are some words of motivation from leaders who measured their success by more than the (substantial) money they made.
  1. How do mutual fund managers make money?

    Mutual fund managers get base salaries, which vary greatly depending on the size and pedigree of the fund company. They may ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does my employer's matching contribution count towards the maximum I can contribute ...

    Contributions to 401(k) plans come from employee salary deferral and employer match dollars. According to the IRS, employees ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How is marginal propensity to save calculated?

    Marginal propensity to save is used in Keynesian macroeconomics to quantify the relationship between changes in income and ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How did Enron use off-balance-sheet items to hide huge debts and toxic assets?

    Prior to its infamous accounting scandals and collapse, Enron used off-balance-sheet special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to hide ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why should investors research the C-suite executives of a company?

    C-suite executives are essential for creating and enacting overall firm strategy and are therefore an important aspect of ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Where did the term 'Nostro' account come from?

    The term "nostro" is Italian in origin. It means "our" or "ours." In accounting and finance, nostro accounts are often differentiated ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center