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Monkey see, monkey do…

Remember when you were growing up and your friends did something dopey and your mom would inevitably tell you, “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow them?” At Aon Corp. (AOC) the answer appears to be yes. In a recent 8-K, the company disclosed a new “executive special severance plan” that will pay 11 of its most senior executives three times their base salary plus gross-up payments and a whole host of other goodies following a change in control, which the company stresses is just a hypothetical situation. The reasoning? A consultant Aon hired determined that 90% of all other publicly traded companies have similar arangements. A second group of executives — the company only describes them in the filing as fewer than 100 — will only receive two years worth of salary and no gross-up payments.