Sears is seeking court approval to pay executives as much as $19 million in quarterly bonuses while the company struggles to restructure in bankruptcy.
Three top executives could get nearly $1 million each if the company goes out of business. If Sears remains in business, they could get nearly $500,000 each for hitting the top performance targets.
Sears filed two different types of bonus plans in bankruptcy court Thursday. The first is for the top 18 "key" executives, who would collectively get as much as $2.1 million per quarter. The bonuses would only be paid in full if Sears reaches its cash-flow targets. Sears Holdings, which includes both Sears and Kmart, has been burning through cash at a rate of about $125 million a month.
A second retention bonus plan was designed to encourage 322 other unnamed executives to stay put during Sears' reorganization. They would collectively get $16.9 million a quarter, which works out to an average of about $52,000 per quarter per executive. No executive could receive more the $150,000 in bonuses for staying with the company during the bankruptcy process.
A judge's approval is needed before the bonuses could be paid. A hearing on the plans is set for December 20.
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