Solyndra executives collected hefty bonuses in months before Fremont company filed for bankruptcy
Senior executives at Solyndra collected hefty bonuses — ranging from $37,000 to $60,000 apiece — as the Fremont company bled cash and careened toward bankruptcy this summer.
Bankruptcy documents filed in Delaware earlier this week reveal that more than a dozen senior executives at the defunct solar manufacturing company were awarded sizable quarterly bonuses April 15 and again July 8. Solyndra ceased operations in late August and filed for bankruptcy Sept. 6. About 1,100 employees were laid off without severance pay.
The bonuses, awarded to more than a dozen executives, came on top of what were already highly competitive salaries. Karen Alter, Solyndra’s vice president of marketing, had an annual base salary of $275,000; she was awarded a $55,000 bonus in April and again in July. Ben Bierman, Solyndra’s executive vice president of operations and engineering, had an annual base salary of $300,000; he was awarded $60,000 in April and again in July. Will Stover, the company’s chief financial officer, was also awarded a $60,000 bonus in April and again in July.
But wait! There’s more!
But a former Solyndra employee, who spoke on condition that he not be identified, said the bonuses were put in place in an effort to retain talent at Solyndra, which suffered from enormously high turnover during its five years in operation.
“There was a retention bonus to keep people until July since turnover was around 30 to 45 percent,” the former employee said. The former employee said he believes the retention packages began in late 2010 under Brian Harrison, who was named CEO in July 2010.
Jason Kilborn, a resident scholar at the American Bankruptcy Institute, said Wednesday that the payments to Solyndra executives could have been standard practice, since quarterly bonuses are a common form of executive compensation. He also said they could be retention bonuses.
“It’s not uncommon for companies facing serious financial distress to say ‘we need you now more than ever, will you agree to stay?’ ” Kilborn said.
Retain talent? The only talent at Solyndra was the amazing ability to hemorrhage money.
Why would a company that is steadily losing money in vast quantities be paying any bonuses at all? A bonus is a reward for good performance and the company was failing.
Which reminds me – where did all that money go anyway?
(via Hot Air)