The CEO healthcare plan…

January 3, 2008

images-1.jpegIf I have to hear another Presidential candidate brag about his or her solution to the health care crisis, I may need immediate medical care.

Of course, when it comes to health care for retired CEOs, there’s no crisis. Take William W. Zuppe, Chairman and CEO of Sterling Savings, a subsidiary of Sterling Financial (STSA), whose decision to step down at year-end was announced a while back. Last Friday, on the eve of his retirement (and as Sterling’s stock dropped on bad news about loan losses), the company amended his 2005 employment agreement to make clear certain perks, including health insurance, will continue “for the Executive’s lifetime.”

Until Zuppe’s demise (he’s now in his mid-sixties), Sterling will provide him and his wife with medical, dental, disability and travel accident coverage (though any Medicare payments will be subtracted), and he’ll also get a yearly physical by the doctor of his choice. In addition, the firm will pay for tax preparation and financial planning and reimburse him for club membership fees. (The amendment put some interesting restrictions on the perks; for example, the financial and tax assistance is now capped at a paltry $20K a year, and must be provided by “professionals licensed in the tax, accounting, legal or financial service industries.” No more tips from his hairdresser, I guess.)

An even nicer health care package is about to kick in for George Off, outgoing CEO and President of Checkpoint Systems (CKP), who just yielded his post to Robert van der Merwe (press release here; 8-K here). Oddly, the 60-year-old Off’s departure was treated as a resignation for “good reason” under his 2006 contract, and it’s also rather strange that Checkpoint didn’t file either his termination agreement or the new CEO’s employment contract. For purposes of this post, though, let’s stick to Off’s enviable medical and dental coverage. He, his spouse and “eligible dependents or survivors” are all covered for their lifetimes, and if the terms of Checkpoint’s plans don’t allow them to participate, then the company “shall arrange to provide Executive, his spouse, his dependents, or his survivors with the after-tax economic equivalent of such continued coverage.”

If only we could all qualify for CEO Care.

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