While Americans were stuffing themselves with turkey, the turkeys that are brooding over the maggot-infested remains of Canadian-HQ'ed Nortel have decided to munch on what meat is left.
Canada's CBC reported Thursday that Nortel's management approved a plan earlier this fall to reward themselves with salary increases, investments or bonuses. An internal document obtained by the broadcaster outlines a new compensation scheme for 72 Nortel executives that will see them get a total of $7.5 million on top of their current salaries in 2009.
Of those 72, 14 will be getting compensation of $500,000 or more. The fattest feaster is former treasurer John Doolittle, who took over from its last CEO Mike Zafirovski. Doolittle's total compensation has been bumped to $1.68 million this year, an increase of 1.12 million over 2008, when he earned $390,000 in salary and an estimated $170,000 in investment and bonus money.
This greedy self-serving, yet not surprising move given Nortel's record of incompetent, questionably ethical governance--one whose carelessness, shortsightedness and stupidity is matched only by its board who failed in its duties to properly oversee this outfit--comes out at a time when those that actually did their jobs well--its pensioners and long-term unemployed--are being denied what is rightfully theirs.
"I am shocked," Melanie Johannink, who worked for Nortel for 18 years before being laid off in the spring, told the CBC. "It kind of makes you wonder where the money is going."
Former Nortel president Bob Ferchat told the CBC he was also surprised at the extent to which executives at a company in bankruptcy protection were rewarding themselves.
"My reaction, frankly, to the document is 'Here we go again'," said Ferchat. "It's another round of people dividing the proceeds, eating the carcass of the company before it's even dead."
If there is any justice the cretins responsible at Nortel will never see another management-level paycheck or other forms of compensation for the rest of their miserable lives, that they will be forced to live at a standard that the ones they've discarded have to survive on and that their holiday stockings be laden with coal, which at least they could burn for heat.
Alas such endings are for storybooks. Such successful practitioners of the Peter Principle usually find gainful employment in other outfits who are eager for their 'expertise' with expectations for short-term stock profits before the long-term pain of having these fine individuals aboard sets in.
Leave it up to Nortel to make Ebeneezer Scrooge look good. If the famed Dickens character had been a Nortel senior exec he would have 'borrowed' Tiny Tim's crutches and sold them for firewood.