Parting as sweet sorrow at JPMorgan Chase …

When William T. Winters was passed over to run the investment-banking division of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) last fall, the news made something of a splash. Winters, who had been co-head of the unit until the announcement, saw the job go to James E. Staley instead, and stepped down at the end of September (though he didn’t cease employment until February).

Now we’re getting a look at the Agreement and Release he signed on March 3. JPMorgan’s proxy included a rundown on the package he got on his way out the door, but the new disclosure, attached to the company’s 10-Q, offers a little more insight.

In an absolute sense, it’s a lot of money. But what really caught our eye is JPMorgan’s frank acknowledgement that it’s more than they really had to pay him. Or, as the lawyers put it in the Agreement and Release:

“JPMC represents, and Winters acknowledges, that the payments and benefits provided to Winters under this Agreement exceed in the aggregate those to which he otherwise would be entitled as of the date of this Agreement.”

In all, Winters stands to collect a $13.76 million “special award” in cash, another $500,000 severance payment (a year’s salary), and JPMorgan will pay as much as $1 million for “any and all reasonable legal, accounting, tax advisory, career counseling, and other professional fees and charges incurred by or on behalf of Winters and associated with his separation from JPMC—”

In addition, the vesting for some of his options and stock-appreciation rights accelerated when he left, even though he was supposed to forfeit some of them under the terms of their issue. The proxy pegged his option and equity-awards value at $6.2 million and $19.8 million. Winters also gets an administrative assistant, office space at $5,200 a month until as late as Sept. 30, and retiree health benefits for himself and his family as if he’d met the retiree-benefit plan’s requirements at his departure in February.

Plus, of course, he gets to keep the $41 million deferred-compensation account he accumulated at JPMorgan, and $416,943 in pension benefits, as laid out in the proxy.

JPMorgan seems fairly confident that Winters will land on his feet before too long, so he has his own end of the bargain to keep up. Chiefly, he can’t try to recruit some of his former co-workers for a year. Specifically, this means

“employees or former employees who were employed on the Resignation Date or the Separation Date (y) at or above the level of Executive Director (or the equivalent) in JPMorgan Investment Bank, JPMorgan Cazenove or the office of JPMC’s Chief Investment Officer; or (z) at or above the level of Managing Director in other areas of the Firm.”

He can start recruiting if they’ve been gone for at least six months. Until then, if asked, “Winters will say only that he is precluded by agreement from any discussions regarding their employment; Winters will not refer such employees elsewhere”. Failure means giving up some of the goodies, though at least a few of his stock-appreciation rights are deemed “nonforfeitable (and thus, e.g., not subject to cancellation prior to May 6, 2010 or recoupment).”

It can’t be much fun to rise to the heights that Winters did and then find your career path blocked. Presumably the House of Morgan’s parting payments eased the sting.

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