Bottle this and sell it…

March 19, 2004

With all the bloat buried in the latest round of SEC filings, particularly when it comes to sweetheart retirement deals for top execs, it’s so nice to find a former CEO who’s actually not milking his employer! Because it is pretty rare, it’s almost like a classic man bites dog story. Pfizer’s (PFE) recent proxy has one of those stories. Former Chairman and CEO William C. Steere, who stepped down from running the company in 2001 but remains on Pfizer’s board, collected a paltry $50,000 in consulting fees from the company last year, which really is meager compared to other deals out there. And — here’s the real man bites dog part — he actually reimbursed the company for all his personal services provided as part of his retirement. The proxy doesn’t specify how much Pfizer was reimbursed or what those services were. But judging by the goodies that other former top execs get, it’s probably a car, use of the corporate jet, office space, a secretary, a club membership, and maybe even fresh flowers and wine, as former GE Chairman Jack Welch famously collected from his former employer. If only Pfizer could bottle this and sell it!

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