In a refreshing break from stories about Wall Street bankers greed here's one of greed in the oil patch.
Nabors Industries Ltd., an Houston oil drilling concern, has cut the death benefits for its chairman and CEO, Eugene Isenberg. It seems as if Mr. Isenberg's heirs are going to have to get by on $100 million instead of the $264 million golden coffin to which he was entitled. By the way if he becomes disabled or is fired without cause, he also collects on this provision.
Some shareholders of Nabors aren't satisfied and have filed a resolution seeking shareholder approval of future death benefits. The directors oppose the measure on the premise that death benefits are "an important inducement to attract and retain executives."
Now Mr. Isenberg is 79 years old and earned $70.8 million in 2008. The death benefit only gets paid if he kicks before March 30, 2013. I don't know if that is a rolling date but I wouldn't be surprised if that is the case. At any rate, the stockholders certainly have life expectancy working against them.
As much as I want to defend the private enterprise system, capitalism and free markets incidents like this do sway me towards the "dark side." I really think they could plant this guy for less than $100 million and I suspect that his heirs could live very comfortable lives without the extra money.