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CEO gets a $100 million payout for stepping down, sort of

Last Friday, we learned that the chief executive officer of Nabors Industries, the world's biggest land-drilling contractor, was stepping down. On Monday, we found out that he got $100 million in cash for doing so, or at least mostly doing so.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Eugene Isenberg, 81, is getting the rich payout, even though he's staying on as chairman of the company, because a clause in his contract stipulates the payment in case of a "change in responsibility."

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, the company said "the Company intends to record a $100 million contingent liability, to be reflected in its fourth-quarter results and year-end financial statements, in light of provisions in Mr. Isenberg's employment agreement."

Nabors recently reported a third-quarter profit of $74.3 million, versus a loss last year. 

Isenberg, who has been the company's chief executive for 24 years, is being replaced by Anthony Petrello. The company said that under Isenberg's leadership the company emerged from bankruptcy in 1987 with 38 rigs and negative shareholder equity of $35 million and grew to a multinational with operations in 24 countries and shareholder equity of more than $5.6 billion.