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Top 10 Severance Packages


These are 10 of the largest Severance Packages we could find online.

Getting laid off from your job can be a very emotionally distressing time for most people.  These people, however, probably celebrated. They got what’s called a golden parachute, an enormous severance package with insane benefits.

#10. Tom Ryan, former CEO of CVS Caremark, received $185,415,435 in severance in 2011. The FTC had been looking into the company, concerned about “anti-competitive” practices.

#9. Hank McKinnell of Pfizer received $188 million in severance pay. He also received a pension package worth $161 million.

During his 5 years with Pfizer, the company lost $140 billion dollars, prompting a shareholder publicity stunt to fly a banner over the company headquarters with the banner “Give it back, Hank!”.

#8. Lois Gerstner, former CEO of IBM, stepped down in 2002 with a severance package worth $189 million. He also still enjoys IBM funded transportation.

#7. Fred Hassan, former CEO of Schering-Plough/Merck, received $189,352,324 in severance pay. He also received a pension package worth $98 million.

#6. John Kanas, former CEO of North Fork Bank, received a severance and retirement package when he stepped down in 2006, totaling $214 million.

#5. Bob Nardelli was CEO of Home Depot. He received a severance package of $223,290,123 after working for the company 6 years delivering consistently poor results. When he was acting CEO, investors were furious with his $113 million annual salary amid the falling stock value. When the Board asked him to more align his pay to shareholder’s gains, he stepped down. Shareholders were also furious with his severance package.

#4. Ed Whitacare, former CEO of AT&T, walked away with over $230 million. He also received a hefty severance package from his time as CEO of General Motors.

#3. Bill Maguire, former CEO of United Health, collected $286 million when he “retired”. He was found guilty of backdating stock options to make extra money and was fined heavily and forced to leave in 2006.

#2. Lee Raymond, former CEO of Exxon, received $320,599,861 in severance pay in 2005. He was praised as creating great returns with little risk.

#1. Jack Welch at General Electric received over $417 million in severance pay. He also received benefits such as an $80,000-per-month Manhattan apartment owned by the company, court-side seats to the New York Knicks and U.S. Open, seating at Wimbledon, box seats at Red Sox and Yankees baseball games, country club fees, security services and restaurant bills.

In recent news, we’ve learned current CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Meyer, is set to receive $160 million in severance pay if she’s let go from her position due to new ownership. Her severance pay is worth more than the companies value, after stocks continued to slip under her leadership from 2012 to present. The company let go more than a third of its people with another 15% expected to be let go in the immediate future.

It’s clear in the case of some of these executives, payment is not tied to performance!