Nabors Industries former CEO Eugene Isenberg agreed to forego a $100 million severance payment from the company after pressure from shareholder activists.
Isenberg, 81, agreed this week to waive the $100 million severance-style package that was in his employment contract. The figure was scaled back from an even larger amount in 2009 after shareholders’ objections, the Wall Street Journal reported. The payment was revealed in a regulatory filing in October when the company announced that his longtime lieutenant, Anthony Petrello, would be promoted to CEO.
Isenberg will also skip a $7 million payment into his deferred bonus account. However, Isenberg’s estate or trust will receive $6.6 million with interest upon his death and he will continue to receive insurance and other fringe benefits.
The executive pay package was said to be “excessive” even for the world’s largest land-drilling contractor, Jeff Dietert, an analyst at Simmons & Co. in Houston, wrote in a note to investors.
Dietert said $100 million payment “for what we view as essentially retiring will be offensive to some,” Bloomberg reported.
In November, the company announced the Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation into company executive perks related to the use of a corporate jet for personal travel.
Isenberg had led Nabors since 1987 and the company, registered in Bermuda, has not stated reasons for the change in leadership.
“I am fortunate to have been very successful in my career, and it has always been my intention to donate this money to charity,” Isenberg said in a statement this week. “I ultimately concluded that everyone’s interests, including the company’s and our shareholders’, were best served by this new arrangement. It is my hope that the company utilizes a substantial portion of these savings for worthy charitable purposes.”
Isenberg will continue as board chairman through his current term, which ends in June. He will then retire as a director and become chairman emeritus, the company said.
Petrello said Isenberg has a “long history” of charitable giving to causes, including education, medicine and the arts. The current CEO said Isenberg’s contribution of his annual salary since 2009 to the Nabors Charitable Foundation has provided college scholarships to over 170 employees and their families.
“The company intends, subject to future operating results, to make charitable contributions to benefit the educational and other charitable needs of its employees and to benefit other community-based causes,” Petrello said in a statement.