The US-based oil contractor Nabors has handed its boss $100 million to give up half his day job in one of the biggest ever severance packages.
Eugene Isenberg, 81, chairman and chief executive of the oil-drilling company since 1987, will hand over day-to-day running of the firm to Anthony Petrello, Nabors’s president. He will continue as chairman.
In a regulatory filing, the company said the $100m payment was “a result of this change in responsibility” and in line with “provisions in Isenberg’s employment agreement.” The payoff exceeds last quarter’s net income of $74.25 million.
Charles Elson, chair in corporate governance at the University of Delaware, said the massive severance package was likely to anger shareholders. “What’s really unusual is that he’s not even getting severed,” he said. “A severance package where you remain at least titular head of the company is very rare.”
Isenberg’s payout is not the first time his pay has raised eyebrows. In 2009 he received a $79.3 million pay package, including a $58.7 million bonus. Before his severance bonus, Isenberg’s 2010 package had been cut by 42% to $13.5m.