Gone but not forgotten at Corning…

Sending executives off into retirement with the proverbial golden handshake is a frequent theme here at footnoted. Still, even we were surprised by the 8-K that Corning (GLW) filed yesterday. Former CEO James Houghton, who has been serving as Chairman Emeritus — one of those ceremonial C-suite titles — is stepping down from the board because he’s reached the mandatory retirement age of 74 (a rule that seems a bit capricious in this day and age when 70 is the new 50). But he’ll continue to cost Corning $200K to $250K a year in various perks. Here’s how the company describes it in yesterday’s filing:

In connection with Mr. Houghton’s service as Chairman of the Board Emeritus, the Compensation Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors (consisting solely of independent directors) on April 28, 2010, approved his continuing to receive certain benefits and services, including a security system at his residence; travel expenses associated with business travel conducted at the Company’s request; use of certain office space; salaries and benefits for administrative staff; office furniture, supplies and services; and computer/information technology services and expenses.

Granted, Houghton isn’t your typical director. He’s been at Corning since 1962 and became a director in 1969. Still, as yesterday’s filing notes, the new perks are in addition to whatever else he receives as a former CEO, some of which were described in this 8-K that was filed four years ago when Houghton stepped down as Chairman and some of which were described in this amended 8-K filed in May 2005.


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