As news of the conviction and sentencing of hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam settles down, it’s a good time to take a look back at the last “Bond Villain” to make the financial perp walk—former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Friday, Kozlowski takes issue with what he sees as extravagant bonuses given to executives from companies that received federal bailouts.
“That’s indefensible,” he told the Journal.
The paper notes Kozlowski ”pulled in a pay package worth more than $105 million in fiscal 2000 and was found guilty in 2005 of looting his employer. He was sentenced to as much as 25 years, but he’s now suing New York state to win work release while awaiting his first parole hearing in April.”
“Once one of America’s highest paid CEOs, the 64-year-old felon acknowledges he got ‘piggy’ when it came to his pay,” according to the Journal. “And he says he shares the outrage over corporate greed expressed by the Occupy Wall Street protesters, many of whom wonder why the recent financial crisis didn’t send as many executives to prison as the scandals of a decade ago. ‘I understand their frustration,’ Mr. Kozlowski said in an interview in a visitors’ room at the Mid-State Correctional Facility.”
In the interview, he discussed his post-prison plans, his meetings with GE. CEO Jeff Immelt about possibly combining their companies, and the missteps that led him to prison.
“He received a sentence of 8 1/3 years to 25 years, compared with 25 years for former WorldCom CEO Bernard J. Ebbers and 24 for former Enron President Jeffrey Skilling. In seeking the maximum sentence, Assistant District Attorney Owen Heimer called Mr. Kozlowski’s crimes ‘unprecedented’ and said he made Tyco a ‘symbol of kleptocratic management,’” according to the paper.