My morning routine at work includes reading a daily e-mail newsletter from the National Retail Federation. Today, it featured an MSNBC article stating that Sharper Image founder and former CEO Richard Thalheimer had his severance pay cut by approximately $3 million.
As mentioned in previous blogs, I did 2 stints at The Sharper Image, nearly 4 years each, from 1983 to 1987 and again in 1989 to 1993. It was my first full time job in my newly adopted city, so I will always have a soft spot for the company. Salary and benefits for a lowly rank-and-file person like me really sucked, so for me to hear Richard's severance package being cut got my undivided attention.
The touchy feely part of me thinks this action is a bit harsh because Richard founded The Sharper Image. He's got terrible management skills and is far a from a person of the people, but the company wouldn't have gotten its start without him.
In contrast, the professional and former employee side of me thinks this is a well-deserved action. The salary gap between rank-and-file and executives has only widened over the years. This "we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore" attitude is long overdue. A company sinks or swims with its CEO, and if it sinks, so should his or her severance package.