Sell Ryland!

If ever there was a sell signal this is it. The CEO of the homebuilder Ryland Group, Inc. is retiring and this is what he decided to do with his rather outsized retirement package.

Home builder Ryland GroupInc. will pay its departing chief executive, R. Chad Dreier, at least $27 million as part of a retirement package disclosed late Thursday.

Mr. Dreier, whose retirement was announced Wednesday, opted to take much of the cash in lump sums over the next year, rather than being paid over a 15-year period, as his previous retirement agreement allowed.

Mr. Dreier’s retirement package includes a lump cash payment of $8.2 million that will be paid on May 29, his last day with the company, and $16.4 million six months later. He also will get a $900,000 salary for 2009, an undetermined 2009 bonus and a $2 million cash payment, in part, because he agreed “to treat the termination as a ‘retirement,’” according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

A company spokesman said that Mr. Dreier’s agreement to retire a year before his contract expires and before he is fully vested in all his retirement benefits will save the company money.

I could look up the value of this company’s stock and what sort of returns the shareholders have received and blah, blah, blah. What’s the point. If corporate America continues on this path, the forces that want to relegate private enterprise to second class citizen status are going to have a very easy road indeed.

Anyone want to bet on how long Ryland is going to be around?

more: here

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