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. Investing Basics

    The Economics Behind Marathons

    Marathons are growing in popularity at a record pace. Entry into these events commands a hefty price, but it's nothing compared to the organizational costs.
  2. Professionals

    4 Ways Companies Can Relieve Workplace Stress

    Workplace stress can cost companies tons of money in lost productivity and absenteeism. Some of that is out of their control, but often they are the cause.
  3. Entrepreneurship

    Top 3 Most Successful African Entrepreneurs

    Discover the educational backgrounds and entrepreneurial ventures of some of the most successful and well-known African entrepreneurs.
  4. Investing

    Hybrid Business: Rise of Nonprofits in Private Sector

    Businesses are embracing a mutually beneficial partnership wherein the ideals of the nonprofit sector are coupled with profit motive and capacity to scale.
  5. Entrepreneurship

    Top 3 Most Successful French Entrepreneurs

    Learn about some of the most famous and successful entrepreneurs who either hail from France or have chosen to relocate to France as their home.
  6. Professionals

    The 10 Best Business Jobs in 2015

    Most graduates with a business-related degree will find an abundance of jobs. However, the key is to find a job that pays well and also has strong growth rates.
  7. Entrepreneurship

    Top 6 Most Successful European Entrepreneurs

    Understand what makes European entrepreneurs successful. Learn about six European entrepreneurs who have found great success in terms of their net worth.
  8. Insurance

    Warren Buffett: The Road To Riches

    Find out how he went from selling soft drinks to buying up companies and making billions of dollars.
  9. Entrepreneurship

    Top 3 Most Successful Australian Entrepreneurs

    Learn interesting biographical information about some of the most famous and successful entrepreneurs who are originally from Australia.
  10. Investing News

    A CEO as U.S. President: What's the Disconnect?

    Can business leaders effectively lead the country's highest office? Next year may mark the first time that we'll find out.
  1. 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 >>
  2. 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 >>
  3. 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 >>
  4. 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 >>
  5. 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 >>
  6. Can the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index be used to determine competitive balance in professional ...

    Although the measurement and analysis of a company's key performance indicators (KPIs) vary by company, it is important to ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  2. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  3. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  4. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  5. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  6. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!