Biz Watch

XAVIER LHOSPICE/REUTERS

LATE PAYMENT: Messier will get his severance pay after all

Indecent Proposal
Add this to the already bloated annals of fat-cat pay: a U.S. arbitration panel last week upheld a $23.6 million severance payout for Jean-Marie Messier, the ousted CEO of Vivendi Universal. Jean-René Fourtou, Messier's successor, described the payout as "indecent" and promised to contest the decision. He has little room for maneuver: the payout was written into a U.S. contract agreed to last July by two Vivendi directors, Marc Viénot and Edgar Bronfman Jr., to persuade Messier to depart quickly and quietly. The full board rejected the contract days later, after Messier had quit....

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