Eye on the Amazon

Heck of a Job, Brownie!

John Watson

Here's unsurprising news hot off the presses from the Department of Every Screw-up Deserves a Raise:

In a company securities filing, Chevron revealed that Chairman and Chief Executive John Watson received about $25 million in total compensation for 2011, up 52 percent from 2010. Last year was, of course, the year in which Watson's company was ordered to pay $18 billion by an Ecuadorian court for oil spills in the Ecuadorian Amazon. What's worse, the company's oil spills off Brazil's coast prompted authorities to file criminal charges against Chevron executives and to propose an $11 billion fine of the company.

Chevron also increased the pay of General Counsel R.H. Pate by 75 percent to $7.8 million. Pate's compensation jumped in part due to his "outstanding management of Ecuador and other major litigation matters," according to the filing.

Not bad for an incompetent year's work, right?

Reminds us of Michael Brown, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) who was complimented by President George W. Bush, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," after he had botched the federal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

According to the filing, Watson received about $1.6 million in base salary last year, $91,000 more than a year earlier, plus cash bonuses totaling $4 million, up from about $3 million in 2010. He also received shares of Chevron stock worth about $5.1 million, a 35 percent increase from 2010, and he earned $7.2 million by exercising options. Other compensation, including Watson's use of company aircraft, life insurance and home security, was valued at about $278,000. The value of Watson's pension in 2010 was about $6.6 million. v Other Chevron top executives also enjoyed big increases in pay last year. Compensation of Patricia Yarrington, the company's vice president and chief financial officer, jumped 65 percent to $11.3 million from the year before.

Chevron shares rose about 16 percent in 2011, while in 2012 the stock is down 5.1 percent.

Click here for an in-depth summary of Chevron's conduct of the Ecuador legal case.

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