Struggling Kodak had to pay for CEO’s vacations in Spain
Over theÂ four yearsÂ that Kodakâ€™s stock fell 80 percent,Â the photography icon’s private jetÂ made its way several times a year to Vigo, Spain — the balmy fishingÂ town that is the hometown ofÂ CEOÂ Antonio Perez.
The Wall Street Journalâ€™s flight tracker for private jet travel makes it easy to traceÂ Perez’s vacationsÂ in Spain. It also estimates that theÂ cost of each roundtrip was more thanÂ $50,000 a pop.
Starting Jan 1, 2011, Perez’sÂ personal trips on the jetÂ were limited to $100,000 a year.Â If hisÂ flightsÂ exceed that amount, Perez has to reimburseÂ Kodak, according to the company’s latest proxy statement. That might come as some relief to investors concerned about the rate thatÂ Kodak is burning cash.
But before the limits onÂ personal useÂ went into place,Â Perez didn’t seem to hold back.Â In 2007, heÂ flew to Vigo in April,Â returnedÂ over the summer andÂ then rang in the New YearÂ over there as well.
Until 2010, he made several more trips, according to the database.Â The Galician costal city town in northwestern Spain is aÂ major fishing port on the Atlantic Ocean, according to the city’s website.Â 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.Â 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.
â€śIt’s also standard practice at many major companies, and for the same reason — security considerations. WhereÂ (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.
NowÂ while it may be common for CEOs to use the corporate jetÂ for “me time,” it’s rarer for a company to lose so much of its value while its top executiveÂ jetsets on the company’s dime.