Better than a gold watch…

At the bottom of today’s Business section of the NY Times, there was this interesting story about Wallace D. Mallone Jr.’s departure from Wachovia (WB). Under a deal that was part of Wachovia’s purchase of SouthTrust banks in late 2004, Mallone will walk away with $135 million. As the article notes, that’s in addition to the $473 million in Wachovia stock that Mallone holds.

For the past year, Mallone has been serving as vice chairman, a largely ceremonial title as I noted last year in this article in Slate. In retirement, Wachovia will continue to pay for his office and provide secretarial support for the next five years, which the Times said was worth about $1 million.

Though shareholders did in fact approve the merger, as a Wachovia spokeswoman noted, it’s highly unlikely many of them realized that Mallone’s retirement would be so grand. Hopefully, the new SEC proposals will help make this sort of thing clearer, so that investors don’t learn about the details in a newspaper article more than a year after the fact.