It's like having a golden parachute when you never even had to jump out of the plane.
Believe it or not, Isenberg's previous goodbye package was supposed to be even more lucrative at $264 million, but it was reduced after shareholders objected several years ago. In addition, had Isenberg voluntarily retired or vacated the post, he wouldn't have been eligible for the $100 million.
There's no excuse for any of this, since Nabors Industries hasn't been a performance powerhouse. Nabors' stock price has dropped 19% in the last year, and it's underperformed the S&P for a decade.
Dig around Nabors' numbers and there are warning signs of less-than-stellar long-term corporate performance. If you're looking for impressive compound annual growth rates over the last five years, forget it; Nabors' revenue has increased just 5% annually and net income shrunk at an annual rate of 16.6% over that time frame. Nabors' debt-to-capital ratio is an uncomfortable 76.4% in the last 12 months.
Let's put the payout in another perspective: Nabors only has $395 million in cash on its books. This isn't even a cash-rich company like Apple
Nabors' goodbye package isn't making up for lost time, since Isenberg wasn't exactly hurting in the compensation department over the years. In 2009, governance experts The Corporate Library called out Isenberg as being one of the highest paid, worst performing CEOs of 2008. Nabors' compensation situation strongly mirrors outrageous pay at industry peers like Chesapeake Energy
This is a slap in shareholders' faces. At Nabors' most recent annual meeting, 57% of shareholders voted against the company's compensation policies.
Shareholders have the board's compensation committee to thank. As of Nabors' latest proxy statement, John Lombardi, William Comfort, James Payne, and Martin Whitman comprised the compensation committee. Also note that shareholders voted in favor of policies that would help hold the board more accountable, including a majority vote standard for director elections and declassification of the board.
Nabors strikes me as a stock no individual investor should hold unless they're really spoiling for a fight through their proxy votes; shareholders have really gotten the shaft despite their clear displeasure with compensation policies and lack of commensurate performance. With friends like Nabors, who needs enemies?