Monday, February 25, 2013

In Switzerland, Anger Grows over Payouts for Rich Executives | TIME.com

Although several countries, including the U.S., allow shareholders to vote on the executives’ pay, Minder’s initiative goes even further. Such votes would not be optional; all public companies would have to poll shareholders on the compensation of their CEOs. The proposal would also ban “golden parachutes” — generous severance packages provided to top managers who leave because of a takeover or restructuring. Penalties such as hefty fines and even jail sentences would be given for violating these rules.

One of Switzerland’s most vocal critics of exorbitant corporate compensations is businessman Thomas Minder, who was famously — and forcibly — escorted out of a UBS shareholders meeting in 2008 for storming the podium to blame the bank’s then chairman, Marcel Ospel, for the loss of $50 billion during the subprime crisis, which required a bailout from the Swiss government. Minder is the CEO of Trybol

Daniel Vasella, chairman of the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, was offered a $78 million payout to ensure he would not work for a rival company after his retirement on Feb. 22.

Politicians and unions called the compensation “disgusting,” while an attorney representing small shareholders filed a lawsuit accusing Novartis and Vasella of the misuse of company funds. 

In Switzerland, Anger Grows over Payouts for Rich Executives | TIME.com

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