Nortel Paid Mike Zafirovski $2.3M When He Resigned

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When Mike Zafirovski resigned as bankrupt Nortel Networks’ CEO last year, the company said he did not receive a severance package.

What Nortel did not divulge, until publishing its latest annual report, was that Zafirovski walked away with $2.3 million in compensation comprised of regular pay, $1.19 million in incentives and other money.

And Zafirovski wasn’t the only top exec to take millions in bonuses while thousands of Nortel workers lost their jobs and pensioners watched their benefits dwindle. All told, Nortel handed out $14.2 million in cash compensation, $8.6 million of which was considered bonus payouts, to seven executives in 2009.

Enterprise chief Joel Hackney, who now works at Avaya, got $1.67 million in incentive earnings. Wireless head Richard Lowe got $1.57 million – he’s an Ericsson employee post-wireless auction. Their total compensation last year added up to $2.19 million and $2.41 million, respectively.

Hackney and Lowe earned the incentive money by meeting a number of criteria, one of which was – you guessed it – slashing jobs.

Meanwhile, Pavi Binning, who’s leading Nortel as it completes its auction efforts, raked in $1.95 million, $1.33 million of which was bonuses. Joe Flanagan, former COO, got $1.6 million total, $1.1 million of which was bonuses. Chief strategy officer George Riedel took home $1.5 million, $997,875 of which was bonuses. And Phillipe Morin – who led the optical networking unit and will work for that division’s new owner, Ciena Corp. – got $1.19 million total and $719,424 in bonuses.

Nortel also doled out $1.4 million to 10 former and current directors, and paid $140 million to lawyers, pension, human resources and financial experts helping to oversee the company’s bankruptcy proceedings.

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