Corporate execs offered big pensions

Jan. 29, 2006 at 7:10 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Major corporations are doing away with costly employee pension plans, but not for executives, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Countrywide Financial Corp. of Calabasas, Calif., for example, will not offer lifetime income after retirement to employees hired since Jan. 1. But new Countrywide executives still qualify for a special executive pension -- one that will pay Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo up to $3 million a year for life.

At First American Financial Corp. of Santa Ana, Calif., workers saw their pension plan frozen in 2001. But a special plan for executives will pay Chief Executive Parker S. Kennedy nearly $1 million a year for life if he remains with the company until age 65.

Companies say cutting the executive plans would cause top executives to go to work for their rivals. Others view it as a double standard.

"These executives earn what an entire neighborhood of typical families make collectively," said Karen Friedman, policy director at the Pension Rights Center, a non-profit advocacy group. "They don't need this money for retirement. These plans are just outrageous."

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