Free

Perhaps a record?

Bill Pardue lasted a mere 10 months at Gartner Inc. (IT), an IT consulting company that has been through numerous rounds of layoffs over the past few years. But that 10 months turned out to be very lucrative for Pardue, who according to this release announcing his hiring as head of Gartner Intelligence in February 2004 was a “highly talented executive with a proven track record”.

According to the proxy that Gartner filed last week, Pardue received $1.5 million in severance, roughly 4 times his annual salary. He also received nearly $70,000 in relocation expenses, 660,000 options that are still underwater, and a $250,000 retention bonus that seems particularly ironic given how long he wound up staying.

Two other Gartner executives, both of whom lasted a bit longer, also got huge severance awards according to the proxy: $3.5 million for former CEO Michael Fleisher and $3.2 million for former COO Maureen O’Connell, both of whom resigned last October and both of whom received large multiples of their annual salaries in severance. But Pardue’s severance seems like something of a record: $1.5 million for 10 months on the job.

Can anyone out there top it and point me to a larger severance for less time on the job? If you can, I’ll send you a signed copy of Financial Fine Print.