Severance From Heaven

Nice deal if you can eet it: After just five months as chairman of software maker Legent, Jerre Stead stands to collect $15 million. That's the payoff expected from his stock options after Computer Associates' $1.8 billion takeover of Legent, announced on May 25.

It has been a decade of career hopscotch for Stead, 52, known as a charismatic manager. He signed on with Honeywell after college and stayed for 21 years. Next, he spent less than five years as president and chairman of Square D before it was sold in a hostile takeover. In 1991, he joined AT&T and devoted four years to turning around that company's telephone-switch business and NCR computer unit before quitting to head Legent.

Now what? Stead says he received calls from 14 executive-search firms the weekend after Legent's sale was announced. But he is determined first to help guide the merger with Computer Associates. Then, a long vacation. Ultimately, Stead wants to teach or at least set up a university program to boost his ideas of "values-based leadership."

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