Transocean Execs Donate Part of Bonuses, Keep More

| Wed Apr. 6, 2011 12:41 PM EDT

Five Transocean executives got massive bonuses for their performance and safety record in 2010. A Transocean Annual Report called 2010 "the best year in safety performance in our company's history," which seems patently false (or incredibly callous) in light of the April Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers and spawned the second-largest oil spill in history. Public outrage has motivated executives to donate $250,000 of their 2010 bonuses to the families of workers who died in the explosion. But $250,000 is just the part of the bonuses that's directly linked to safety. There's a lot of compensation they're getting for 2010 performance that they're keeping. From Forbes

The five executives will retain about $650,000 in cash incentives... They will also retain much more valuable “long-term incentives” in the form of stocks and options... CEO Steven L. Newman will donate about $93,500 to Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon Memorial Fund. Newman received a $900,000 salary in 2010 that ballooned to $6.6 million through categories of remuneration described as bonuses, incentives, stocks, options, and allowances. For 2011, Newman received a 22 percent raise in his base salary—an additional $200,000.

I'd be more able to applaud the executive's donation of $250,000 to the workers' families if it weren't such a small part of their total compensation package. It makes it even harder to be sympathetic when the reason (the Annual Report says) the executives were compensated as they were was because they had to spend so much time and effort dealing with the Deepwater Horizon disaster. In reading the Annual Report, the company seems to take little responsibility for the rig's destruction, and puts yearly profits far ahead of any ongoing environmental costs.