Ousted Ford CEO Mark Fields Is Being Paid a Lot of Money to Leave the Company

May 25, 2017

The former CEO of Ford is being pushed out with an estimated $54.4 million to cushion the blow.

Earlier this week, Mark Fields, who had overseen the company as its chief executive since 2014, was ousted in favor of his more self-driving car savvy subordinate, Jim Hackett. That came after shares of Ford had fallen about 37% during Fields' tenure. And the money isn't all Fields gets. Although he already announced his retirement and is no longer the CEO of Ford Motors, he is not effectively retiring until August. So Ford has also given him "reasonable use" of the company aircraft until Aug. 1.

That extends an existing bylaw allowing top executives use of private jets due to security concerns. In fact, Ford has prohibited its CEO or Executive chairman from flying commercially in business and personal travel. As a result, executives' families have also been given the benefit of using the aircraft. While it's unclear exactly what Fields will be doing between now and Aug. 1, former CEOs have been retained as consultants following their exit, such as former Valeant chief Michael Pearson.

Fields' estimated payout includes millions of dollars worth of stock, stock options and pension benefits, and about $1.6 million in prorated bonus pay. Including another $19 million worth of stock that Fields already owns, and he's walking away with about $73 million. He is not receiving any prorated cash base pay.

Ford's board may have decided to leave out the cash base pay (which, prorated, would've been a little over $1 million) because unlike stock, a direct cash payment could make for poorer optics, said Alan Johnson of the executive compensation consulting firm Johnson Associates. Ford is heavily unionized and has recently undergone major job cuts.

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