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.

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