You’d think the major money for the after-dinner speaking circuit would be reserved for the world’s foremost national leaders. Big names in the last decade have included former UK premier Tony Blair, and ex-US president Bill Clinton. Joining their ranks is the former US Treasury Secretary, who has raked in $400,000 for just three speaking engagements.
His most recent such gig, a speech at a conference for Deutsche Bank in June, earned Geithner somewhere in the region of $200,000. No doubt George Osborne and Danny Alexander – the closest UK equivalents to Geithner’s former position - have got their ears pricked at a figure like that. If things go awry at the next election, it’s good to have a plan B. We have a feeling that British ex-finance ministers won’t command such high figures, however. Maybe a novelty lecture at a London university will be on the cards, though…
It could be the start of something big for Geithner, considering Clinton and Blair have both earned many millions of pounds for speaking at private events and lectures since they left office. Bear in mind that the UK prime minister only earns £142,500 per year, and the US president earns about $400,000 (although he also gets a much bigger White House, and an entertainment budget, too). So it’s a seriously appealing career path for former politicians – if they can get the work.
Of course, against a backdrop of politicians getting itchy about how much they’re paid, it is not surprising that in the US, former top brass get on the circuit pretty quickly after leaving office. An example is the former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, who spoke at a dinner of Lehman Brothers hedge fund clients less than a week after resigning (back before it collapsed). Well, there was $250,000 in it, right? Who could say no?
While we’re on the topic of remuneration, today it emerged that around 19,000 Asda staff are in line for a record payout averaging £3,240 per employee thanks to the completion of the Sharesave scheme introduced by parent company Wal-Mart. However, because the payouts will not be the same for everyone, some staff will get as much as £15,500 (some put more aside than others over the last three years).
The good news for employees is that an unexpected rise in Wal-Mart’s share price means that payouts will be worth about 170% of what employees have contributed. And when you consider that the scheme allowed staff to buy shares at a 20% discount on their 2010 price, employees that chose to get involved have done rather well.