Calpine hires temp as COO for $220K monthly fee

calpine-logo.gif As temp jobs go, acting as the interim chief operations officer for a multi-billion dollar company would seem to be a rather demanding one.

Calpine, the San Jose energy provider that emerged from bankruptcy proceedings in January, named Todd Filsinger its interim chief operations officer May 2, according to an SEC filing Thursday. Filsinger, a managing partner with PA Consulting, will work in the position as an independent contractor hired by his own consulting firm, which Calpine has agreed to pay $220,000 a month (that’s 2.64 million a year) in exchange for Filsinger’s services and those of a second consultant to assist him.

But get this: Filsinger doesn’t “directly receive” any of the fees paid to him by Calpine,
according to the filing. Instead, “the ultimate amount of his total compensation from PA
Consulting has and will depend on a number of factors related to, among other things, the financial success of PA Consulting as well as his successful performance in his position with PA Consulting.”

The filing also included this oddity: Calpine “understands from Mr. Filsinger that if he
does directly receive, or become entitled to receive, all or any portion of any fees paid to
PA Consulting relating to the engagement, he will inform” Calpine of the fact. And then what?

If its work for Calpine is any indication, PA Consulting should be doing fine. Calpine rang up charges of about $27 million with the consulting firm in 2007 for services it provided, including $1.2 million billed for Filsinger’s own work. Filsinger has been providing Calpine
with consulting services since shortly after it filed for bankruptcy in December 2005, most recently as an “advisor” to Calpine’s chief executive, Robert May.

Filsinger’s billable rate was raised from $620 an hour in 2007 to $750 in February, which he’ll be able to charge should he do any work “outside of the defined scope of the Interim Chief Operating Officer services.”

CEO May has been no slouch in the compensation department himself. As we wrote in February after May signaled his desire to resign as Calpine’s CEO, he is set to get a $29.6 million “success fee” related to the company’s emergence from bankruptcy that is in addition to his $1.5 million salary and $2.4 million bonus last year.


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