These days, it seems, you get paid in inverse proportion to performance. Randy Ralph Halpern orchestrated the over-rapid expansion of Burton and its subsequent profits collapse. When the once thriving high street retailer had gone for a burton, he left Burton with a £2 million payoff. George Davies is reported to have received double that sum for departing from Next, while David Smith and Elizabeth Hignall walked off with £1.8 million - their reward for engineering Britain's biggest leveraged buyout and leaving Isosceles heavily in debt.
At Brent Walker the has-beens are likewise looking for handouts.
George Walker is still in the ring just but his wife, Jean, and son, Jason, booted off the board earlier this year, have slapped in claims for a modest £600,000 between them. Included in this sum are the £43,000 which Jason Walker will require for the loss of his Jaguar Sovereign and the £75,000 bonus which Jean believes is her due - presumably for contributing to the company's current crisis.
So what price one departing prof?
If the rumours are true, Sir Roland Smith's aspirations are much more modest. Although he had just signed a new contract with British Aerospace, Smith is alleged to be in the running for only £300,000. Of course he has never had any proprietorial interest in Bae, unlike Davies, Walker etc. Equally, however, he has not single-handedly sent share prices plummetting; many of Bae's present woes are the responsibility of a board which has made Smith its scapegoat.
In failing to fail with quite the aplomb of the others in the line-up for platinum handshakes, Smith seems to have done himself a disservice. Perhaps his pay-off would have been bigger if he had bankrupted Bae first.
HANDOUTS FOR THE HAS-BEENS.
George Davies Next 4
Ralph Halpern Burton 2
Tony Berry Blue Arrow 1
David Smith Isoceles 1
Elizabeth Hignall Isoceles 0.8
Brian Brolly Really Useful 0.8
Jean and Jason Walker Brent Walker 0.6*
Derek Alun-Jones Ferranti 0.5
Sir Roland Smith Bae ?
* In dispute.