WaMu’s CEO of Three Weeks Could Exit with $11.6 Million

September 16, 2011

With JPMorgan Chase’s takeover of Washington Mutual, it’s unclear what role Alan Fishman—who was hired only three weeks ago as WaMu’s new CEO—will play in the combined company.

But if Fishman leaves the thrift, it’s pretty clear that he would be well-compensated for his short stint on the job.

Fishman appears set to collect a payout worth $11.62 million if he leaves the company “with cause” or because of “constructive termination,” according to a copy of his employment agreement, which was disclosed in a regulatory filing September 11.

The agreement calls for Fishman to earn 2.5 times his base salary of $1 million, or $2.5 million, plus another payment that is 2.5 times his annual bonus. He has earned no bonus in his brief tenure, but the agreement states that if Fishman is terminated in 2008 or 2009, he should receive 2.5 times 365 percent of his annual salary, which would add up to $9.12 million.

This $11.62 million is in addition to the $7.5 million signing bonus Fishman was awarded when he joined WaMu earlier this month.

Derek Aney, a WaMu spokesman, was not immediately available to discuss Fishman’s new role in the merged company or whether Fishman will be eligible to retain all of these payouts.

David Schmidt, a senior consultant at compensation firm James F. Reda, noted that AIG’s former CEO Robert Willumstad rejected his $22 million severance package last week after the firm was bailed out by the government.

Schmidt said he wouldn’t be surprised if Fishman forfeited some or all of his compensation if he doesn’t join JPMorgan. “It’s entirely possible,” he said. “That’s a significant payment for an incredibly short period of time on the job.”

Filed by Mark Bruno of Financial Week, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

Workforce Management's online news feed is now available via Twitter.