November 23, 2022

The CEO of Astroworld Organizer could get a huge golden parachute

The CEO of Live Nation, one of the organizers of last week’s deadly Astroworld music festival, could potentially snag a nine-figure golden parachute even if the fallout costs him his job.

According to public documents, Chief Executive Michael Rapino’s departure plan was worth $168 million at the end of last year, including accelerated stock option grants, medical benefits and more than 40 million dollars in severance pay.

That number would now likely be significantly higher, as Live Nation shares are trading near an all-time high, despite a slight post-festival downturn.

Rapino was supposed to receive the full balance of his exit package if he resigned for “good reason” or was terminated “without cause”, according to the documents. These terms apparently leave some room for interpretation. “Cause” would include “Mr. Rapino’s willful and continued failure to perform material obligations” or willful misconduct which caused “material and demonstrable harm, pecuniary or otherwise,” to Live Nation.

There is currently no indication that Rapino will resign or be expelled, although investigations into the event are still ongoing.

Rapino and Live Nation did not respond to requests for comment. [Disclosure: Barry Diller, the chairman of IAC, which owns The Daily Beast, served as Live Nation’s chairman until 2010.]

In one declaration Posted to his Twitter account on Monday, Rapino said: “Many families are facing the unimaginable right now and my heart goes out to them and the entire Astroworld community. We are committed to doing everything we can to bring families and fans the answers and support they deserve.

More than a dozen lawsuits have already rained down on Astroworld organizers, including Live Nation, and musical artist Travis Scott, who continued to perform for nearly 40 minutes after the mayhem began. He also reportedly partied at Dave & Buster even after the show ended.

A source said TMZ that Scott learned from the victims at the after-party, how badly he left. He previously released a statement saying he was “absolutely devastated by what happened” at Astroworld and pledged to pay the funeral costs for the victims.

In the days following the festival, other allegations piled up: that Scott was known to draw crowds and that he encouraged Astroworld attendees to shake the ground even after recognizing an ambulance in the crowd. .

Organizers have also been accused of hiring inexperienced and undertrained security guards.

“If you look at my resume, I only have hospitality and retail experience,” said one of the event’s security guards, hired by a company called Contemporary Services Corporation. rolling stone. “It was like they just needed bodies, like they were hiring someone who passed a background test.”

If the blowback ultimately costs Rapino his job, he could join a list of CEOs who have received big payouts even though they’re embroiled in scandal or controversy.

Beginning in 2014, shortly after Mary Barra took over as CEO of General Motors, the company was forced to recall millions of cars due to a faulty ignition switch that ultimately caused over 100 death. (Barra said she was unaware of the safety issue when she took over the role.)

In 2015, the company paid $900 million to the government as part of a non-prosecution agreement, in which it admitted to misleading consumers and regulators.

Regardless, between 2014 and 2016, Barra’s total salary topped $67 million, according to filings.

Another transportation official, former Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, was ousted in late 2019 over two plane crashes involving his 737 MAX jetliner. He left with to the top $60 million in stock and retirement awards.

The trend extends to all industries. To many observers, Jeff Immelt screwed up the best job at General Electric. When he left in 2017, his retirement allowance was peg at $211 million.

Perhaps most famously, WeWork founder Adam Neumann pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars in a deal that saw the company go on without him in 2019. That included $200 million . in liquid, The Wall Street Journal reported.

As for Rapino, at the start of the pandemic he was widely praised after Live Nation announced that he was “voluntarily renounce 100% of his salary” for an indefinite period. A number of media electrical outlets took that to mean the rest of 2020.

It wasn’t, and it appears the company didn’t proactively correct the misunderstanding.

According to filings, the board reinstated Rapino’s salary to half in June 2021, then increased it to 60% three months later, even as the company would have continued to lay off workers.

Variety first reported on the confusion, lamenting that she too gave Rapino undue “praise”.

Anyway, as of April, Rapino’s salary was back to normal.