And the worst footnote of 2012 was…

December 31, 2012

Here at footnoted we do things a bit differently than the Oscars or any of those other silly awards shows. Rather than make you sit through endless recaps and teary-eyed speeches, we’re just going to announce the winner: General Electric (GE), which won the coveted worst footnote of 2012 award for this disclosure filed back in July. In our totally unscientific survey, 40% of you chose that footnote.

As we footnoted at the time, GE decided to give outgoing executive John Krenicki, who announced his retirement as part of a larger series of changes at the Connecticut-based company, a pretty nice going-away gift: $89,000 a month until Krenicki turns 60. There were other goodies as well, but the $89K a month was the big-ticket item.

Granted, Krenicki had been at GE for 29 years and was apparently a top contender for current CEO Jeff Immelt’s job. Still, $89,000 a month for the next 10 years is hardly chump change, even for GE. As the July filing and a subsequent non-compete agreement that GE filed last month noted, Krenicki is prohibited from working, consulting or serving as a board member at 22 companies in the energy space.

Here at footnoted, we don’t usually talk to folks at the companies that we write about. That’s mostly because based on our experience, 99% of them tell us that they’re not able to say anything beyond the filing. But Rob Varnon, a reporter for GE’s hometown newspaper, Connecticut Post, did speak to GE spokesman Seth Martin last week, who said:

“Mr. Krenicki’s retirement terms reflect his senior position, long service and significant contribution to GE as well as our interest in receiving strong noncompete and nonsolicitation agreement protections, which we received.”

Dell (DELL), which disclosed back in late May that it was spending $1.9 million to move executive Stephen F. Schuckenbrock approximately 200 miles, came in second place for worst footnote, garnering 26% of votes cast. Earlier this month, Dell disclosed that Schuckenbrock was leaving the company to pursue “new opportunities.”

While most awards quickly become a trivia question, the winners of the Worst Footnote often significantly underperform the market. Exhibit A? The 2009 winner by Chesapeake Energy (CHK) that it had spent $12.1 million to purchase Aubrey McClendon’s map collection. Since footnoted readers crowned Chesapeake, the stock has declined over 45%.

Wishing all footnoted readers a wonderful year ahead!

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Companies Mentioned: General Electric Company, Dell Inc.,
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