CEO awarded $60 million to lead Linn Energy past bankruptcy

By Anders Melin and Alicia Ritcey on 4/20/2018

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -- The same day Linn Energy Inc. exited bankruptcy, it awarded CEO Mark Ellis a $60 million compensation package, more than three times the amount Exxon Mobil paid its CEO.

Ellis’s pay included an equity grant worth $58 million, split between restricted shares and so-called Class B units, which are classified as profit interests for tax purposes, according to a regulatory filing Wednesday. Both vest in increments over four years, but the units are deliverable only when Linn’s equity value exceeds $2 billion. That condition has already been satisfied, the filing said.

The Houston-based exploration and production company exited Chapter 11 protection in February of last year. The collapse in oil and gas prices that begun in 2014 sent the firm reeling after 62 transactions over the previous decade had ballooned its debt load to about $4 billion.

Ellis, who’s led the company since 2010, also received $900,000 in salary and a $1.04 million bonus. CFO David Rottino and COO Arden Walker each received awards of $24.7 million. The company didn’t immediately respond to an email and phone call seeking comment.

For the first year on the job, Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods made $17.5 million. His pay consisted of a $1.2 million salary, $1.85 million cash bonus and performance shares valued at $10.8 million.

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