Bill Owens, the former chief executive officer of Nortel, is getting a severance package worth several million dollars, Nortel has disclosed in a regulatory filing.
Owens left Nortel after a tenure of some 19 months on Nov. 15. He was replaced by Mike Zafirovski, a former executive at Motorola who already has begun a shakeup of Nortel’s upper management. The departure of two senior executives was announced last week.
Nortel, which is based in Canada, has one of its largest operations outside of that country in Research Triangle Park.
Owens will receive a lump sum payment of $2 million in U.S. dollars as part of the severance package. That’s equivalent to two years of his base pay.
He also will receive another lump sum equivalent to twice the size of his annual bonus, which would be 170 percent of his base pay. That’s another $3.4 million.
To further sweeten the pot, his acquisition and vesting of 2.9 million stock options will be accelerated.
Further, Owens will receive pension payments for the next five years, starting with $703,913 to be paid in June of next year. He will receive equal monthly payments of $99,073 through November of 2010. That figures out to more than $1.19 million a year.
Other benefits include payment for nine weeks of unused vacation time, what the company called “certain relocation costs and tax preparation services”.
Owens was brought in by Nortel in April 2004 in the wake of a management and accounting scandal.
The full details of the severance agreement, which was disclosed on Friday, are:
“Item 1.01 Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement
“On December 1, 2005, the registrant entered into a letter agreement (the “Agreement”) with William A. Owens, former Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the registrant and Nortel Networks Limited (“NNL”), the registrant’s principal operating subsidiary, concerning the cessation of Mr. Owens’ responsibilities as Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the registrant and NNL effective November 15, 2005.
“The Agreement provides that Mr. Owens is entitled to: (i) a lump sum of US$2.0 million as severance allowance representing two years’ base salary; (ii) a lump sum equivalent to nine weeks of base salary representing all of Mr. Owens’ accrued but unused vacation benefit; (iii) an additional lump sum amount equivalent to two times Mr. Owens’ targeted annual bonus of 170% of base salary under the NNL SUCCESS Incentive Plan (“SUCCESS Plan”), as a special award; (iv) a pro-rata payment under the SUCCESS plan in the event a payment under the SUCCESS plan is made to employees generally in respect of 2005; (v) acceleration of the vesting for all of Mr. Owens’ 2.9 million options to acquire common shares of the registrant; and (vi) certain relocation costs and tax preparation services.
“Mr. Owens will also receive a pension benefit over a guaranteed period of five years commencing with a payment of $703,913 to be made in June 2006 and equal monthly payments thereafter in the amount of $99,073 through November 2010. Nortel has also agreed to indemnify Mr. Owens in accordance with the applicable Canadian laws. The Agreement also provides that Mr. Owens will have certain non-disclosure and non-compete obligations.”