WaMu CEO Could Get $18 Million+ For 3 Weeks Work

For three weeks, Alan Fishman was the CEO of WaMu before it went bust. For his excellent stewardship during these turbulent times, Fishman is eligible for at least $18 million, thanks to his signing bonus. Not blaming the guy, the place was screwed well before he got there, but, man, $6,000,000 a week, not a bad gig, eh?

WaMu CEO: 3 weeks work, $18M [CNNMoney] (Thanks to Erik!)


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  1. Yankees368 says:

    Will he be getting bailed out as well?

  2. I don’t blame him. I blame the people that enabled it. I think CEO’s are like sports players. They get signing bonuses. If they blow a knee and are finished or blow a game, we lambaste them. If they win the series, we cheer them and thank them. I mean can anyone here say they wouldn’t take a job with a 6 million dollar a week “bonus”?

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>:

      My thoughts exactly.It’s the people that enabled including the lawyers,board of directors and hr people that negotiated his contract.

      I’m not for limits on ceo compensation in that most don’t want caps placed on their job.You have to be willing to walk the talk by accepting this goes on.

      What you can do is expect greater accountability from the people that negotiate these contracts.Was giving this WaMu ceo the signing bonus really in the best interest of the company and stock holders or was it a backroom deal from friends who simply got him a job.

      There might be civil liability here but crimal probably not.Unless he signed off on fraud.

      • dadelus says:


        I disagree. After the horribly rampant greed that has been seen in recent decades I am TOTALLY for caps on CEO pay. However I can be fair and make it a sliding scale.

        Set a Federal Maximum wage, but instead of setting it at some random point lets make it a percentage based on the pay of the lowest paid employee. For ease of explanation lets say the CEO can’t make more than 100 times that of their lowest paid employees. So the McDonalds CEO who pays their newest employees minimum wage ($6.25/hour) could stll make $625/hour or a salary of $1,300,000/year which is nothing to sneeze at no matter where in the country you live.

        Now, if it turns out that the CEO needs a raise then he can bump all his min wage employees up $0.75 to $7/hour and now he makes $700/hour or a salary of $1,456,000. Because lets face it, for years management has spouted BS about how important every employee is to the company so if the company is doing so well that the CEO and top execs get a sizable raise why shouldn’t those doing the day to day grunt work also get something more than a certificate of appreciation?

        Of course we would have to put in a stipulation that the 100 times lowest paid employee law accounted for TOTAL compensation and not just salary or else we would just end up with the same abuses of perks, stock options, etc. that led to the current problem.

    • socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>:
      I highly doubt that it was in his contract that he would get 6million a week as a bonus. If it was and shareholders got wind of it there would have been hell to pay.

  3. Coder4Life says:

    sad part is that guy probably doesn’t even need it.. he’s already a millionare.

    maybe he shoudl donate part of it?

  4. bdsakx says:

    Well, his employment agreement is what it is. I can’t say I’m partial or have any criticisms about it. Being afforded the opportunity of CEO of a corporation as large as Washington Mutual is a whole other world. If he walks away with 18 million dollars, oh well I guess…. :

  5. shmianco says:

    reading that makes me ill. like, oh god i might throw up ill. what is wrong with this country? sure this kinda stuff happens all the time, but i’ve been screaming (to myself) foul for years now…it’s time for action! this HAS to stop.

  6. TechnoDestructo says:

    If your buddies got to decide how much you get paid, and you got to decide how much your buddies get paid, you would be paid 6 million per week, too.

  7. davebg5 says:

    Hey Fishman, we know what you look like. Be careful crossing the street. My foot might accidentally slip off of the brake (and slam the gas pedal through the floorboards) when I see you in the crosswalk.

    • namenomore says:

      @davebg5: Come on man…seriously. It’s not this guy’s fault that he was presented with an employment contract that stipulated the terms of his dismissal. The terms were set up because it isn’t as if there is an abundance of CEO level jobs out there. It’s just so ignorant…

      • davebg5 says:

        @onetakedizzle: Riiight. He bears no responsibility for being complicit in this mess. Next I suppose you’ll be telling me how it’s not a drug addict’s fault that they’re addicted. I mean, after all, they didn’t make the drugs and it was someone else who sold them. They’re just taking the drugs and, really, who wouldn’t take them if someone offered, right?

    • azntg says:

      @davebg5: Shhh! Not too loud! The police might take you away just for making such comments that may or may not be construed as threats ;-)

  8. Gokuhouse says:

    I saw something that said if the average worker (me) got the same percentage of pay increases that CEOs have since 1980 I (the average worker) would be making over 160,000 a year at my job.

  9. pcwwalker says:

    Think of him as a high priced call girl. He screwed his customers for a couple of grand each.

  10. Starfury says:

    I have GOT to get a job like this.

    3 weeks, $18,000,000

    Then I can retire.

  11. tmed says:

    OK, it’s not this guy’s fault and of course I’d take the deal if it came my way, but I still hate him a little bit.

  12. Jevia says:

    I’m wondering why there aren’t more lawsuits filed by sharedholders over this sort of thing.

  13. HomersBrain says:

    Sure it SEEMS great getting $6 mil a week ,but think of the pay cut he’ll be taking on his next job

  14. HomersBrain says:

    That photo looks a lot like C. Montgomery Burns with a head full of hair

  15. Anks329 says:

    couple of things to keep in mind. He got a lot of stock option and restricted stock which are worthless. He did get cash as a sign on bonus (7.5 mill). The severance depends on how he was fired and we don’t know the full terms of the contract because the full terms are not public. But the most important thing is, the company is bankrupt! They have NO money to pay him his severance. So he will NOT get that 18 million payout.

    • amuro98 says:


      So…the company is failing, but they can give a SIGNING BONUS of $7.5mil?

      And even then, most signing bonuses I’ve received all had a condition attached to them that if you didn’t stick with the company for 12 months, you had to repay the entire signing bonus. Yes, I had a company threatening to turn me over to a collection agency over a few thousand dollars when I quit after working for them for 6 months without actually getting a project. (I was fresh out of college when they hired me, then they canceled my project, failed to give my group another one and my boss wondered why I got disgruntled and left…)

      And yet this guy gets to walk away with $7.5mil as a signing bonus?

  16. Pylon83 says:

    I simply don’t understand the hostility that people demonstrate towards high-paid executives. This guy didn’t run the company into the ground, he simply couldn’t save it in 3 weeks. Further, executives are highly paid because they are (generally) smart, skilled and hard working. It’s not like they are taking 9-5 jobs. What totally blows my mind are comments like the one regarding hitting him in an intersection. The resentment towards the wealthy on here is just ridiculous.

    • vdragonmpc says:


      The hostility is the fact that the pay is outside of reality. They simply do NOT have the value they demand. No one person is worth a million dollars. Heck we dont even pay the president that well!

      • Pylon83 says:


        Clearly he is worth the money he demands or he wouldn’t be making it. Welcome to the free market.

        • papahoth says:

          @Pylon83: What free market? The board of his cronies? The firm they give lots of consulting work to that determines equitable pay? There is no free market in CEO pay. Its set up to screw the owners of the company, the shareholders, by upper management that somehow got the idea that they own the company. There is nothing free about this market what so ever. Where have you been living?

      • Haltingpoint says:

        @vdragonmpc: I don’t know what reality you live in, but if I had a decision to hire a CEO for a million, and he would increase the value of the company by a large multiple of that, I would GLADLY hire him.

        Of course I’d also tie that pay to performance and provide reasonable compensation (probably 100-200k) if he did not hit his numbers since being a CEO is an incredibly stressful, demanding job that few are capable of handling. That would help avoid this kind of situation.

        People on here don’t seem to understand that being a CEO is not a walk in the park. There is unimaginable stress and zero job security. Plus, since you are one of the most public facing members of your company, any screw up is seen by all and can SERIOUSLY hamper your future employment options. Not to mention the legal risk you assume…

        I wouldn’t wish being a CEO on anyone.

        • PoliticalScapegoat says:

          @Haltingpoint: CEO’s with zero job security? After they they fired, they become political advisors, lobbyists, or just take executive job at another clueless company. Kinda like how the NFL recycles coaches – no matter how bad Team A was under Coach X, Team B will hire him to “turn it around”.

          • Pylon83 says:

            You didn’t really refute the job security argument. Just because they might be able to get other jobs doesn’t mean their current job is secure. Plus they might be able to survive one or two firings, but eventually they will be seen as toxic and have a hard time finding work. So they don’t usually want to lose their jobs.

            • Jevia says:

              @Pylon83: Who cares about job security when losing the job nets you 18 million? One job for that kind of pay and I’d be set for life. I’m sure these CEOs are smart (or some are), but I’d bet that most get those jobs because of who they know, the luck of being in the right place at the right time.

              You can’t convince me that there aren’t working poor people out there with 2 and 3 jobs that don’t work just as hard, if not harder than a CEO.

              These people make this kind of money because they know all the board members who allow it, knowing that they will get a ‘payback’ in their own compensation. There’s no real accountability unless there is a majority stockholder that losses money.

    • Gokuhouse says:

      @Pylon83: I believe the hostility stems from the fact that people who own that stock see it like they are losing money in their stock while this jerk makes off with TONS of money. Not fair since it is a personal loss to so many investors.

    • lightaugust says:

      @Pylon83: Because it’s my money, it’s your money. It’s you working harder and spending less time with your kids or in your life and paying more in bank fees so that he can walk after having done nothing of note.

      Yes, death threats are too much. But I’ll resent these asses until the end of time.

      • Pylon83 says:

        You resent them for running a company that provides a service that you choose to use? You don’t HAVE to bank at WaMu. You don’t have to bank at all. Cash all your paychecks. There is no law, or even right, to a bank account.

    • PoliticalScapegoat says:


      The hostility towards highly paid executives is that many of then are (generally) NOT smart, skilled, or hard working. If they were, the company wouldn’t be in the crapper in the first place. Many have made it to the “top” relying on the golf buddy system.

      • Pylon83 says:

        You’re simply wrong. While I’m certain there is a small exception or two out there, you don’t get the education, experience and skill that it takes to run a corporation without being intelligent. Further, you can’t run a company without being hard working. When the shit hits the fan, you get called. Doesn’t matter if it’s 2pm and your at lunch, 3am on a Saturday or while your on vacation half the world away. As Haltingpoint pointed out, you’re also the face of the company. Just because they don’t swing a hammer or drive a truck doesn’t mean they don’t work hard.

        • papahoth says:

          @Pylon83: Oh like Bernie at MCI? The guy was an idiot savant that knew how to keep buying one company after the other to cover up the fact that he did not know how to run a company so that it made money. And it went on for years until he ended up in jail. How about the clown the runs Verizon? Or Lay? He really knew what he was doing, let me tell you. Most are over paid, under worked in a system that screws the shareholders and rewards them and their buddies.

    • ludwigk says:

      @Pylon83: To be honest, there ARE CEOs and executives that can justify these really high salaries. If you take a $50M/yr business, and turn it in to a $500M/yr business with higher profitability, of course you’re worth millions. The problem is that CEO’s don’t play by the same rules as anyone else. If you did a terrible, awful job, and did -200% of what you normally do for a year, what would happen? The company would fire you. How about for CEOs? They might fire a bunch of people and slash spending to return to profitability while skimming millions off the top for themselves, placing the company in danger of collapse. Or, they might get axed, leaving with a multi-million severance package. Why should they receive such elaborate reward for failure? This is not free market economics.

  17. Marshfield says:

    Bill O’Reilly has a copy of a letter this guy sent out just a couple weeks before wamu went down saying they were solvent, and encouraging people not to quit on them. As a result, some people actually bought WaMu stock at $2.40 a share thinking it was heading back up. Now that it’s toast, he may wind up under investigation for securities fraud.

    I don’t know how he could sleep at night knowing he walked away with over 10 million dollars after the company he was heading just died.

    Perhaps we could pay him the 10 mil and brand the word FAIL on his forehead as a warning to future employers.

  18. stevejust says:

    I’m going to play the part of Bladefist today, except do a better job of it than he would:

    Let’s say you’re a top-notch, top-talent CEO type, and someone comes to you from WaMu and says, hey come work for us. You’d look at the person like they were insane. It’d be like being asked to captain the titanic after it had already hit the iceberg. Why would you want to sully your reputation by attaching it to that rotten pile of feces? You wouldn’t. It would take a pretty big incentive for you to take all the risk of taking on the job of leading that ship being sunk by all the risk it carries in terms of toxic mortgages.

    So how could WaMu possibly get anyone to agree to try to save it without offering a big reward? It couldn’t. So it did. And it was just too little, too late for the thrift. Or strike that, and make it: much too much, too late.

    Okay, now I’m done being Bladefist. I’m back to being me: I say let’s either waterboard all the CEOS and hedge fund managers connected to CDOs and CDSs, or send them to fight the war in Iraq. Or maybe a little of both? And we can take all their possessions away and use the few billion dollars we’d get to help bail out the economy. We should be seeing armed rebellions in the street a la France in 1789.

    • humphrmi says:

      @stevejust: I’m with you on this one, Blade^M^M^M^M^M er, uh… stevejust! I’m all for tying CEO comp to performance, but this guy risked his career trying to save a sinking ship. And lets face it, WaMu didn’t fail, they sold out before they went under, saving the FDIC (and the taxpayers) potentially billions.

    • papahoth says:

      @stevejust: You had me going there for a moment. I’m sorry to say though that Bladefist has joined Ron Paul in Alasks for a retreat away from all the financial doings and the Republicans knowing they are doomed in November. Alaska where a libertarian is a good thing and Republicans are cherished. So remember, next time someone posts as Bladefist, its someone else that has stolen his handle.

  19. Trai_Dep says:

    Well sure, he’s making $1,200,000 a day for basically arranging his new office furniture just so.
    But have some pity on the guy: think of the confiscatory taxes someone in that position faces.
    Oh. Wait.

  20. Rob Phelps says:

    Wait, did someone just cite Bill O’Reilly as a credible source of information regarding the real world on Consumerist?

  21. Rob Phelps says:

    But, I digress.

    The real problem is that the CEO is the leader of a company who is paid even if the company fails. That is not capitalism. That is not how corporations were intended to work. If the company fails to make a profit, the upper management doesn’t get paid. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Some great businessmen know this, and have taken $1 salary to help save their company. This should be a goddamn law.

    • Pylon83 says:

      @Rob Phelps:
      Most people aren’t willing to take that kind of risk. They have families, bills, debts, responsibilities. If they can negotiate these kinds of deals, great, good for them.

      • angryhippo says:

        @Pylon83: *Everybody* else has to take that risk! Tell me, what non-executive job is rewarded regardless of success?

        • Pylon83 says:

          Everyone does not take that risk. If you work a salaried position, the security of your job is not directly dependent on the performance of the company. And just because they are highly paid doesn’t mean they don’t deserve any kind of security if they want it and can negotiate for it.

  22. phripley says:

    If it had to be someone (other than me) I’m glad it was this guy. When he was CEO of Independence Bank the had a terrific record of supporting local arts organizations.

    When I saw he had cashed in on this I immediately thought, hey that’s great news for the Brooklyn cultural institutions (BAM, BMA, Public Library etc)…

  23. HClay says:

    Something is truly sick about our society when individuals get this much money. No one’s work, be they CEOs, athletes, or other celebrities, is worth this much money.

    • Pylon83 says:

      It’s called capitalism. If you prefer salary caps and restricted markets, try Russia. I hear they have a booming economy.

      • TechnoDestructo says:


        There is no market at work in CEO pay. It is cronyism.

        • Pylon83 says:

          How do you figure that there is no market at work? A company wishes to recruit a CEO, they make him an offer. If he believes that the offer is sufficient for his services, he accepts. If not, he declines. If the company feels that he is worth more than they offered, they up the offer. This continues until the company hits the maximum they feel he is worth, or the candidate determines that the offer is sufficient for his services.

          • TechnoDestructo says:


            They are hiring someone who will have a strong say in their own futures and their own pay. They probably know the guy personally, or are at most a degree removed. Also, in many cases it is not their personal money with which the CEO is being paid. Backs are being reciprocally scratched, with other people’s money.

            If companies were people who looked out for their own interests, yes, there would be a market. They are not. They are legally person-like entities, but their decisions are made by individuals with their own agendas and their own interests which may not perfectly match (do not perfectly match) those of the company as a whole. Thus the decisions “of the company” may be explicitly not in the best interest of the company…but in the independent interests of someone or some group within it.

            If market forces were the main thing at work, CEO pay would not have risen as it has in the last few decades.

            • stre says:

              @TechnoDestructo: the only way a free market works is if people look out for themselves. the interactions that drive a free market simply won’t work if people aren’t selfish. in the end the market weeds out the bad players, the ones who didn’t play the game correctly. for many CEOs, if they had the foresight to think ahead far enough, they’d see that they’re far better off if they help the company prosper. in the long run, they’ll make more. the ones who didn’t think this way are the ones who are falling from pedestals right now. the only reason they didn’t fall sooner is because they were surrounded by other people who didn’t play the game right as well.

              in summary, i’m agreeing with you that it’s groups of people that are screwing the pooch together, don’t blame individual greed. intelligent greed is necessary for the market. the people that caused this mess were greedy and unintelligent, and there’s plenty of people responsible for letting them get where they are.

  24. TechnoDestructo says:

    If it makes anyone feel better, he and his kind get more human bodily fluids in their food than any of us ever will.

  25. crashfrog says:

    Just another member of America’s parasitic CEO class. These guys bring zero value to any company except a warm butt to fill a chair (there’s a perception that a company “needs” a CEO, but all the real decisions are made below him) but they insist on being paid like they’re the founders of the company.

    I’m not opposed to the salaries that people like Steve Jobs make; he helped found Apple, did the hard work in his garage to bring that company up from nothing. He’s been a huge value-add. Compare Jobs’ tenure to Gil Amelio’s, when the company experienced a three-year stock decline and what Wikipedia describes as “crippling financial losses.” And for all of that Gil still made about the same salary as Steve Jobs. Absurd.

    These CEOs go from one company to the next, helped by their buddies in the boardroom, slopping from one corporate trough after another while their underlings make all the important decisions. And when they fail, no big deal, “only a few people can be CEO’s” so there’s always another company to plunder.

    In the scheme of things, their salaries only seem obscene compared to the salaries of everybody else – as a whole they probably don’t leech that much money out of the business world. But let’s not pretend it’s free market capitalism as they plunder American businesses (and our government, too.) It’s corporate parasitism.

    • Pylon83 says:

      Are you aware that Steve Jobs draws a salary of $1?

      • crashfrog says:

        @Pylon83: I didn’t know that, actually. Even better, I guess. Amelio was paid a ton more for nearly ruining the company.

        I assume Jobs takes something from the table, free iPods maybe?

    • TechnoDestructo says:


      Steve Wozniak did the hard work in his garage.

      To be fair to Jobs, while he may have pulled some absolutely historic dick moves, at least the money he makes (stock value) is tied to the performance of his company.

  26. SmilingB says:

    I think we as Americans should all stop and look at our position in the world. What do the people in Iraq or other 3rd world countries think of us as we sit in our safe world with Wal-Mart down the street with everything we need and want. Even our poorest citizens have access to health care, housing and more food then we need. We as Americans do not know how lucky we are. Yet we continue to bitch over irrelevent things.

    • azntg says:

      @SmilingB: We do good things, we get b*tched at. We do bad things, we get b*tched at. It’s not easy trying to be a superpower and the world’s police.

      You just can’t win :-(

  27. UnicornMaster says:

    Yeah, the people who structured the deal were idiots. I don’t blame the guy either, although he is one lucky b@stard.

  28. P_Smith says:

    Tell me something: Have you ever heard of a Japanese CEO getting a golden parachute like this? No. And while some Korean CEOs get “golden parachutes”, one actually needed a real one – he jumped off the room in shame after getting caught breaking the law.

    Maybe that’s what’s needed stateside. The lack of golden parachutes, I mean.

  29. Adisharr says:

    Just another tool in the toolbox.

  30. TheFuzz53 says:

    And shit like this is the reason why American’s are so against the bailout plan.

  31. JPinCLE says:

    I can see this both ways. I’m a free market capitalist, so I think CEOs should have the opportunity to make LOTS of money – tens of millions of dollars – depending on how well they do.

    I also think, however, that every compensation vehicle other than a base salary should be tied to performance and overseen carefully by the BOD and shareholders. I have owned a lot of stocks in my short life, and never have I received voting materials for the CEO comp package…not even an “FYI, this is what we’re paying this guy.”

    Finally, I think this guy should take whatever he gets out of the deal, and turn half of his net take over to a good charity.

    Not because he’s obligated to, but because it’d be good for this mess.

    Look, if Fishman would go on camera and address the situation, then make a sizeable donation, it would restore a lot of peoples’ faith in CEOs.

    And the TRUTH of the matter is that MOST CEOs are very intelligent, very hardworking individuals who do a lot of good for their companies. Remember that for every one of these Fishman type stories, there are hundreds of untold CEO stories where company success is the outcome.

    We have become such a cynical society because of these stories, and it’s all a function of the media and what sells ad space on the news.

    A gracious move would go a long way toward restoring consumer confidence a little.

  32. ShirinFedotenko says:

    Yes, I think Jesus said something along those lines… -bluesdance