A modest allowance…

May 11, 2004

When American Financial Group (AFG) announced last April that co-president Keith Lindner would be stepping down at the end of June, they forgot to mention that he would still be on the company payroll for the next five years. But in the Q filed last week, the company includes Lindner’s “salary continuation agreement” which will pay him $500,000 a year plus a handful of other company-paid perks, including insurance, office space on the ninth floor of the Chiquita building in downtown Cincinnatti, 2 office assistants and access to the corporate plane. The company will still be obligated to pay him even if Lindner, 44, finds another job. Lindner, who is the youngest son of AFG Chairman Carl Lindner and served as co-president with his two older brothers, S. Craig and Carl III, presumably doesn’t need the allowance since he owns over 6 million shares of AFG stock, according to the proxy. The stock is currently trading at around $30 a share. When the company announced Lindner’s decision to step down, it described this as a way to add independent board members to AFG. What’s not clear is why AFG investors are just learning about the details of Lindner’s deal now, nearly a year after the fact.

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