Heinz CEO to receive $56 million golden parachute if fired by new owners

Updated March 5, 2013 at 5:52 PM
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Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital announced last month they were buying Heinz in what will be the food industry's most expensive acquisition ever.

Among the several expenses the new ketchup owner will have to deal with is the $56 million golden parachute Heinz's current CEO, William Johnson, will be entitled to if he's fired.

According to CS Monitor, Johnson's deal with Pittsburgh-based Heinz was disclosed during a regulatory filing Monday. It allows him to walk away with $40 million at any time, as well as an extra $16 million if the new owners let him go.

In addition, Johnson is entitled to a payout of $99.7 million in bestowed stock and $57 million in deferred compensation benefits that he accrued over his 30 years working with Heinz.

H.J. Heinz Co. spokesman Michael Mullen said the payments reflect Johnson's success in "creating billions of dollars in shareholder value." And added that no decision had been made regarding Johnson's future with the company.

Johnson, 64, served as president and CEO at Heinz for the past 15 years.

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