Free

For the rest of his life…

What do you give a top executive who is being investigated by the company’s own board over "allegations relating to improper payments to foreign government officials" and suddenly decides to resign? How about a quarter of a million dollars? For the rest of his life.

That’s exactly what’s going on at Pride International (PDE), which filed this retirement agreement with outgoing Chief Operating Officer John Blocker Jr. yesterday. Blocker, who was only named COO in January 2005, used to oversee the company’s Latin American operations. Though Pride hasn’t provided many details, a former employee has made allegations about bribes going back a number of years, which has prompted Pride to delay filing both its 10-K for 2005 as well as its first quarter Q.

No matter how the investigation is resolved, Blocker, who has been at the company for 13 years, won’t have much to worry about. That’s because his retirement agreement will pay him $258K for the rest of his life. Given that he’s only in his early 50’s — the last proxy listed his age as 53 — that could mean that Pride will be on the hook for millions. Even if Blocker dies unexpectedly early, Pride will still be required to pay his wife $129K a year for the rest of her life.

Not bad work if you can get it.