The coronavirus recession is pushing many companies into bankruptcy, a painful process that has led to layoffs, wiped out some investors and hurt the economy.

But the chief executives of some of these businesses are doing just fine.

Companies that are struggling to pay creditors and suppliers are managing to find millions of dollars to pay bonuses to their bosses. The payments, which are made just before a bankruptcy filing, appear to be legal and have been made by several companies.

J.C. Penney, which is closing 154 stores, paid its chief executive, Jill Soltau, $4.5 million. The chief executive of Whiting Petroleum, which sought bankruptcy protection in April, received $6.4 million and Chesapeake Energy is paying bonuses ahead of an expected bankruptcy filing. Executives at Hertz also got payments before the rental-car giant sought bankruptcy protection.

Companies have said the payments are meant to help them retain qualified executives through the recession and bankruptcy. But critics counter that the money would be better spent on rank-and-file employees.

Source & Credit – New York Times