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Up Front: FAT WALLETS
HE CAME, HE STAYS, HE GETS SEVERANCE
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO cash in your severance package without getting fired? Talk to Henry Schimberg, the No.2 executive at bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises. Schimberg's $13 million golden parachute was set up by his previous employer, Johnston Coca-Cola, as insurance if he got, er, canned. When CCE (44% owned by soft-drink-maker Coca-Cola) acquired Johnston in 1991, Schimberg joined CCE. As an enticement, Schimberg got the right to collect all or part of the bounty--with board approval, natch. It appears the same deal applies if he quits, retires, or is fired.
In his first withdrawal, Schimberg creamed off $1 million last year, says the latest proxy of CCE, now the largest U.S. Coke bottler. That's atop $1.5 million in pay he earned for 1994. Family-owned Johnston gave him such a lush kitty because it didn't want to grant him stock. CCE denies this is a golden parachute, calling it "deferred compensation."
The board argues that he's worth it. Says T. Marshall Hahn Jr., who chairs the board's compensation committee: "He is invaluable in terms of adding value to the shareholder." And hey, what an incentive to keep up the good work. EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT, WITH OLUWABUNMI SHABI Maria Mallory