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Krispy Kreme Doughnuts said yesterday that it has agreed to pay its new CEO, Stephen F. Cooper, an hourly rate of $760, and its new CFO, Steve G. Panagos, an hourly rate of $695. In addition, the company plans to pay Kroll Zolfo Cooper, the restructuring company for which both men work, an additional and undetermined “success fee” if they are able to turn the company around.

Both men also have other jobs. Cooper is CEO of Enron, and Panagos is chief restructuring officer at bankrupt Penn Traffic Co.
KC's View:
So if Cooper puts in 40 hours a week at Krispy Kreme, he’ll make more than $30,000 a week…or more than $1.5 million a year…plus bonuses if he actually does his job. (He makes the $760 an hour even if he’s an utter failure.)

Does anyone else think that for a company with financial troubles, Krispy Kreme sure seems to have a lot of money?

Forget the message that this sends to investors. How about the message it sends to everybody else who works at Krispy Kreme, most of whom are probably hard-working, honest, dedicated employees. These guys come to town, pull down these amazing numbers, and clearly are not saying “we’re all in the same boat.” No, they’re saying that “we’re in a yacht and (to quote an old Bill Cosby routine) how long can you tread water?”

Of course, if Cooper saves the company he’ll seem like a bargain. But this seems a little excessive. How about tying the big bucks to performance and achievement, as opposed to just showing up at the office?

At those prices, they could have gotten Gordon Gekko.