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08.09.10

The 20 Most Outrageous CEO Parachutes

$35 million for bogus expense reports? Mark Hurd's H-P payoff was just another routine day in the life of corporate America. How his parachute stacks up against 20 all-time malfeasants.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd may be hurting from the media swirl around his alleged relationship with a contractor and false expense reports, but his wallet will stay fat thanks to a severance package valued at $34.6 million in cash and stock.

Click Image Below to View Our Rankings of 20 Outrageous Corporate Parachutes

And how’s the man Hurd succeeded as America’s favorite entitlement whipping boy, BP CEO Tony Hayward? He was exiled to Siberia and will leave his post in October—but not without a severance and pension package reportedly worth $17 million.

But Hurd and Hayward are hardly the best-paid paragons of corporate misfires. The Daily Beast inspected news reports and Securities & Exchange Commission filings spanning more than 25 years to find the 20 titans of industry who, despite very public professional failings, walked away with tens, even hundreds of millions in cash and stock.

To come up with our list of 20, we separated the leaders of industry into two groups—those who resigned or were fired under the taint of ethics scandals, and those who left because of professional failings. We then combined the 10 highest paid from each group—reflecting the total value of the exit packages—into our final list of 20.

Research by Clark Merrefield and Lauren Streib