Sailing into retirement…

Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) announced two weeks ago that A. Kirk Lanterman, the longtime executive of subsidiary Holland America was stepping down. But Lanterman, whom I’ve written about before will be well-compensated in retirement, according to the 8-K the company filed last week. For the month of December, he’ll receive $62,500 for being Chairman of Holland America, which the company describes in the filing as a non-executive title. Starting in January, he’ll enter into an 11-month consulting contract that will pay him $788,000 a year through next November and may be renewed through November 2006. In exchange, he’ll be required to work up to 1,000 hours, which, given his experience, doesn’t seem unusually excessive.

The 8-K then goes on to say that “at the end of the consulting contract, no further severance or other payments shall be provided….except as set forth in the retirement and consulting agreement between Mr. Lanterman and HAL dated Nov. 28, 2003.” But it’s a pretty big exception. Under that agreement, which lasts 15 years, Lanterman will receive $1.99 million annually — or $166,657 a month.