Do as I say, not as I do

From this morning’s NY Times:

When the CSX Corporation calculates pension benefits for its chief executive, John W. Snow, nominated by President Bush last week to be Treasury secretary, he will receive credit for 44 years of service to the company, though he has worked there just 25.

Moreover, Mr. Snow’s benefits will be based not just on his salary, or even his salary and bonus, but also the value of 250,000 shares of stock the CSX board gave him.

Getting credit for years not worked, and having virtually all compensation counted toward pension benefits, are two of the newest trends in pay for senior executives, said Judith Fischer, managing director of Executive Compensation Advisory Services. She calls such deals “the eternal wealth syndrome.”

Though he has renounced his claim to about $15 million in severance benefits, Mr. Snow’s pension improvements mean he will collect $2.47 million a year from CSX until he dies, according to company disclosures. If confirmed as Treasury secretary, he will be paid $161,200 annually.

— snip —

As Treasury secretary, Mr. Snow would be in the middle of pension policy-making as the subject heats up in Washington. He would oversee new pension rules announced by the Bush administration last week that experts say can be expected to strip benefits from older workers while benefiting younger workers and saving companies money.