BofA CEO Scores $53M Retirement Package, Investors Want Theirs

Shareholders left by the wayside

By Jennifer Millman
|  Thursday, Oct 1, 2009  |  Updated 6:30 PM CDT
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Blame Them For Your Empty Wallet

AP

Show me the money.

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Ken Lewis, the embattled CEO of Bank of America Corp., is leaving the company after a year of strife that followed his bank's acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co., but it's not like he's going to be hard up for cash.

The embroiled businessman will end up walking out with $53 million in pension benefits, according to Fortune. That means he'll get about $3.5 million a year for the rest of his life – not bad considering the people who bought stocks in his company have lost a ton.

The bank got rid of employment contracts and golden parachutes nearly 10 years ago, but Lewis' fine funds stem from a decades-old pension program that enabled execs to accumulate benefits they'd get in the form of annuity payments once they retired.

 Lewis gets to sail into the sunset with the most dough from this program, but Vice Chairman James Hance, who retired in 2005, didn't do too poorly for himself either. He got an annual payment of $2.7 million, according to Fortune.

BofA, of course, elected to freeze the pension program when its stocks went in the toilet as part of an effort to better match executive compensation with shareholder returns. The bank's stock is worth less than half of what it was a year ago.

Ouch.

But the switch came too late to impact the fortune Lewis had amassed. He's managed to accrue more than $50 million in the executive pay plan over more than a decade.

Oh, and the bank also owes him some $10 million in deferred compensation, reports Fortune. And then there's the $8 million he's due in restricted stock and stock options.

And to all you BofA shareholders out there who are wondering how the heck you're going to retire, considering how pitifully the stock performed for you, and want to know where your multi-million-dollar pension package is, Ken Lewis' address is ...

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