Avistar CEO quits, gets more than twice the severance owed him

avistar-logoRaise your hand if you recently quit your job and in the process got a severance package that was bigger than what you’d have gotten if you were let go by your employer?

Avistar Communications, the San Mateo company that was delisted from the Nasdaq stock market last month, reported today that Simon Moss “resigned voluntarily” as its chief executive on July 8 after a little more than a year and a half at the helm of the maker of desktop videoconferencing and collaboration tools.

When he was promoted from division president to CEO in January 2008, Moss and the company agreed that if were terminated without cause, his severance would include six months of salary, six months worth of continued life insurance and health coverage, a pro-rated amount of any projected bonus for the year, and six months of additional time in which to exercise his vested options.

For quitting, however, Moss is walking away with roughly twice that amount.

According to the separation agreement struck between Moss and Avistar, the former chief executive will now be paid a full year’s salary, or $270,000. Avistar will also cover the cost of his health coverage for up to 13 months and the payments on his $50,000 life insurance policy for a year.

As for his bonus he’ll get $60,000 guaranteed, rather than a pro-rated amount of any possible bonus he might have earned for his performance at Avistar this year to date. No named  officer earned a performance-based bonus last year at Avistar, although Moss was paid $109,921 in discretionary bonus money.

Moss will also be paid $22,500 to make make himself “reasonably available” to serve as a consultant for a month, with the option to provide services for two more months after that.

Finally, the period during which Moss may exercise his vested options was doubled from six months to a full year.

Interestingly, Avistar was able to name a successor for Moss the very next day, leading us to wonder about just how ‘voluntary’ his resignation really was.

Robert Kirk will be getting paid the same salary as Moss along with an option grant of 1.5 million of its shares vesting over four years.  And his severance arrangment will be the same as the original agreement with Moss. Only time will tell whether it is subject to change, as well.

 

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