I was leaving the bank last week after taking out a loan so I could afford to gas up my Honda when I heard on the radio that the chairman of Exxon had retired. Normally I would have ignored this little bit of insignificant news until I heard the retirement package this guy named Lee Raymond got.
When I think of retirement, I think of a party with cake and maybe a gold watch or a rocking chair. But obviously I'm in the wrong trade because Exxon is giving Raymond a little more than that.
Raymond received nearly $400 million, including pension, stock options and other perks, such as a $1 million consulting deal, two years of home security, personal security, a car and driver (I bet he never has to pay for gas in the car either) and use of a corporate jet for professional purposes.
That's right. This guy is getting $400 million to sit at home and do nothing while we have to offer up our kidneys to pay for a tank of gas.
I always knew we were getting cheated at the pumps but I didn't realize how bad. While writing this column gas was $2.59 a gallon. If my math is correct (and it probably isn't) it would take 154,440,154 gallons of gas to pay for this guy's retirement package.
Exactly what did this guy do to receive such a nice retirement payment? Did he cure cancer? No. Did he obtain world peace? Not even close. Did he help an old lady cross the road? I doubt it.
Exxon defended the retirement package to ABC News by pointing out that during the 12 years he ran the company, Exxon became the largest oil company in the world and that the stock price went up 500 percent. Well la-
di-da. The man did his job. Give the man a gold watch, a rocking chair and say thanks for the memories.
And besides, I would think soaring fuel and commodity prices were what raised Exxon's stock prices, not anything Raymond did. After all, Raymond is the same guy who testified before Congress last November and said gas prices were high because of global supply and demand. So basically this guy took part in raising our gas prices and in turn bumping up his own salary.
And you wouldn't believe this guy's salary. Raymond was paid more than $941.5 million from 1993 to 2005 and according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, he made $51.1 million in 2005. That is the same as $141,000 a day and nearly $6,000 an hour.
And I am sure he wasn't doing a ton of work anyway. I've seen Dallas on reruns and J.R. never looked like he was working that hard.
So the next time you put gas in your car just remember that you are helping pay for a $400 million retirement package for a guy whose sole deed was raising your gas prices. You've got to love America. As a matter of fact, I think I need to go and discuss the terms of my retirement package. I'm cheap though. I'll take a simple million.