The occasional perk…

The proxy filed Tuesday by Agilent Technologies, Inc. (A) wasn’t particularly eye-popping or shocking. But it did contain a curious perk for outgoing Chairman Emeritus Edward Barnholt. Barnholt served as President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board for Agilent until February 28, 2005, when he became “Chairman Emeritus” until his October 31, 2005 retirement. Buried in the “Termination of Employment and Change-in-Control Arrangements” section of the proxy (and not disclosed anywhere else) is this perk:

Agilent will provide Mr. Barnholt certain support services following his retirement on October 31, 2005 for approximately eight years until he attains age 70. These services, estimated to cost no more than $30,000 annually, will consist of administrative assistance such as home computer support, occasional use of Company office space, occasional access to existing administrative support staff, and the like, and financial advisory services at an annual cost of up to $20,000.

Granted, $50,000 a year isn’t much for a company with a $17B market cap. Still, Barnholt pocketed a salary of $1.0 million and bonuses of about $1.3 million during fiscal 2005 for being “Chairman Emeritus”, a job which hardly seems all that taxing — and I’m not even counting the $9.57 million of exercisable, in-the-money stock options Barnholt owns. I think he can afford to get his computer fixed at Best Buy (BBY) like the rest of us and even pay for his own financial planner.