Struggling Kodak had to pay for CEO’s vacations in Spain

October 21, 2011

Over the¬†four years¬†that Kodak‚Äôs stock fell 80 percent,¬†the photography icon’s private jet¬†made its way several times a year to Vigo, Spain — the balmy fishing¬†town that is the hometown of¬†CEO¬†Antonio Perez.

The Wall Street Journal‚Äôs flight tracker for private jet travel makes it easy to trace¬†Perez’s vacations¬†in Spain. It also estimates that the¬†cost of each roundtrip was more than¬†$50,000 a pop.

Starting Jan 1, 2011, Perez’s¬†personal trips on the jet¬†were limited to $100,000 a year.¬†If his¬†flights¬†exceed that amount, Perez has to reimburse¬†Kodak, according to the company’s latest proxy statement. That might come as some relief to investors concerned about the rate that¬†Kodak is burning cash.

But before the limits on¬†personal use¬†went into place,¬†Perez didn’t seem to hold back.¬†In 2007, he¬†flew to Vigo in April,¬†returned¬†over the summer and¬†then rang in the New Year¬†over there as well.

Until 2010, he made several more trips, according to the database.¬†The Galician costal city town in northwestern Spain is a¬†major fishing port on the Atlantic Ocean, according to the city’s website.¬†Cruise line Royal Carribbean says on its website: “If you’re a beach-lover, then Vigo is for you. You can soak up the rays at one of several sparkling beaches, including Samil, Alcabre and Canido.”

Speculation Kodak was on the verge of filing for bankruptcy flared at the end of September and its shares fell more than half after news emerged that the company had hired law firm and restructuring specialist Jones Day. Kodak denies it is going to file for bankruptcy.

As for the perks, Kodak said personal use of the company aircraft has been enshrined in contracts for its CEOs for years and points out most big companies also let their CEOs avoid commercial airlines.

‚ÄúIt’s also standard practice at many major companies, and for the same reason — security considerations. Where¬†(Perez) travels is of no import as long as he abides by the rules, which, of course, he does,” said Kodak spokesman Gerard Meuchner in an e-mailed statement.

Now¬†while it may be common for CEOs to use the corporate jet¬†for “me time,” it’s rarer for a company to lose so much of its value while its top executive¬†jetsets on the company’s dime.

5 comments

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It’s not jet, singular. Mr Perez is so busy that he needs Kodak to provide two aircraft. See these exhibits appended to the March 10q: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/3 1235/000003123511000085/exhibit101.htm and http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/3 1235/000003123511000085/exhibit102.htm .

I want to note, as a shareholder of Kodak for more than twenty years, that it is vitally important that Mr Perez be able to get to any vacation destination, anywhere in the world, at a moment’s notice, and that it is very important that Kodak’s million-dollar board of directors bear that in mind as we contemplate Kodak’s filing for bankruptcy the moment the ITC announces its judgment upon, in effect, the value of Kodak’s for-sale patent portfolio. Mr Perez must not be forced to fly commercial, not even first class, during the lengthy & difficult bankruptcy process.

Posted by anscombe | Report as abusive

Just one question, who is more incompetent, Perez or the BOD?

Posted by Manjo | Report as abusive

Just another example of Kodak laying off people who are close to retirement. Perez can’t get his money the way Carp and Fisher did by selling off assets so he has to get it by saving on the cost of retirement benefits. Such corrupt and shortsighted management ever since they hired “the saviour” Fisher.

Posted by lensmanb | Report as abusive

unfortunately its a dead business. Upper management will be the paid employee till they close the coffin.
Silly management they had a good brand name that could have been used wisely!

Posted by mohamedmohsen | Report as abusive

How did that stupid beaner get to be ceo of Kodak.

No wonder the company is going bankrupt

Posted by theylive | Report as abusive