Sears CEO Lou D'Ambrosio is receiving what Sears defends as just your basic CEO compensation package. D'Ambrosio:
[...] received a signing bonus of $150,000 plus a base salary of $930,769 and $8 million in stock awards, according to a filing the company made Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.That's not because Sears has been especially profitable of late: "Sears's SEC filing shows it posted its largest quarterly loss in nine years, $3.1 billion. In addition to stores already closed, it shut another 62[.]" Think Progress's Pat Garofalo puts the layoffs number significantly higher, and notes that Sears also benefits from millions of dollars in tax incentives from the state of Illinois.
D'Ambrosio got another $852,037 in perks, including $803,856 for charter and commercial airfare and ground transportation to commute from greater Philadelphia, where he lives, to Hoffman Estates, Ill., where Sears is based. And he received $29,985 for temporary housing in Hoffman Estates. Sears paid part of the income taxes due on those benefits.
Sears' defense of itself is true, though—the company isn't paying its CEO an outrageous amount by corporate CEO standards. And CEOs are routinely rewarded for laying off workers. Sears is just participating in today's corporate culture. It's a totally corrupt values system, of course, and one that hurts family and state and national economies, but Sears is just the symptom of that. Nor is it the most disgusting example we could find. For instance, Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship became a former CEO after the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine explosion killed 29 miners under his leadership. Blankenship:
[...] got $39 million in accumulated retirement benefits, plus $14.4 million in severance and perks. These included five years' use of an office with secretary, free use of a house and land that formerly were Massey property, and reimbursement of taxes on the free house and land ($257, 111).I'm sure Massey Energy's new parent company would tell us Blankenship earned it, that he was contractually assured of all that. But substitute one CEO with tens of thousands of union workers and see how quickly we start hearing that the contract needs to be broken because their pensions are too expensive and it's just not sustainable in today's economic environment. Now try to imagine if the union had created conditions that led to 29 deaths.