Target severance package leaves bad taste in Canada

When former Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel was paid to walk away from the company which he led into some of the worst decisions in the history of the retailer, he was given a severance package worth an estimated $61 million.

That figure is being noticed now that Target plans to put 17,000 employees out of work in Canada. Their severance package combined will be $5 million less than the retailer spent dumping Steinhafel, according to the CBC.

Depending on who’s doing the calculation, the golden handshake handed to ex-CEO Gregg Steinhafel last May is in roughly in the same ballpark.

Fortune Magazine put the value of his total “walk-away” package, including stock options and other benefits, at $61 million US, including severance of $15.9 million.

“I’m not normally one to jump on the anti-corporate bandwagon, but these numbers really put things in perspective,” wrote Reddit user leafsfan_89 on a busy Reddit chat page.

“My next gig is to become a CEO of a company, fail miserably and collect millions,” a Twitter user named Tim Parent tweeted Thursday morning.

The reference is to Steinhafel’s tenure at the helm of the troubled retailer. A year ago, Target suffered a massive data breach affecting 70 million U.S. customers.

Target’s ill-fated expansion into Canada also cost the company billions of dollars, prompting the new CEO and board to cut their losses and shutter all of the retailer’s 133 Canadian locations.

The Target package will give its soon-to-be-former employees 16 weeks of pay.

In the U.S., the average CEO pay is about 354 times the pay of the average worker. But the ratio is lower in Canada, according to the AFL-CIO.

  • Gary F

    Why don’t the complainers do what it takes to get a big CEO job with a CEO compensation?

    • Someone tell me what I need to do to get $61 million for failing at my job and I’ll do it!

      • Ken_Meyer

        Demonstrate the abilities and skills needed to OBTAIN the job in the first place. Only then will you have the opportunity to fail at it.

      • NIck K

        You’re in luck! Wikihow has a 12 step plan to becoming a CEO and it has pictures! I’d write more, but I’m off to become a CEO. http://www.wikihow.com/Be-a-CEO

      • David P.

        Clearly, Steinhafel was worth more to Target than the 17,000 they let go.
        In fact, he was 18,500 times more valuable than the average Canadian employee.
        So Bob, there is your answer. You need to simply be 18,500 times better!

  • Tiffany Sorenson

    Great advice Gary….

  • Lisa

    I get that it is horrendous and that the pay for the C suite has gotten remarkably out of whack. At the same time, there’s nothing that says they have to do this at all.