Pfizer execs get hefty severance deals

The world of executive pay often seems to flout the rules of logic, not only for pay packages themselves but for their critics, who tend to shout "no fair!" before reading the fine print. Today, we'll offer a couple of exec-pay news items, and let you be the judge of their fairness.

First: Pfizer. As the Wall Street Journal Health Blog notes, the garden variety Pfizerite gets 16 weeks' pay if he or she is laid off, plus a prorated bonus and a year of health benefits Top Pfizer execs, however, get a minimum of a year's pay. That's salary plus bonus. Depending on seniority, the executive could reap as much as two years' salary and two years' bonus.

The executive severance plan, adopted just last week at a compensation committee meeting, was disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Other elements: a year of life insurance benefits and a year of health benefits. And the plan applies to everyone on Pfizer's Executive Committee, save a couple of exceptions; other employees can be added on a case-by-case basis.

As you know, Pfizer announced plans to shed some 19,500 jobs as part of its megamerger with Wyeth. And that's on top of the 10,000 cuts announced in 2007.

- see the Health Blog post
- check out the SEC filing