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Brett Favre and the Packers - Bringing New Meaning to the terms, "Golden Parachute" and "Severance Pay"...

Does this sound like your company?

  • Superstar retires, rides into sunset after tearful goodbyes and multiple farewell parties...
  • Company executes succession plan, put successor in leadership role...
  • Superstar balks three months later, says he wants to come back into previous role... Favre2
  • Company says "no thanks", we've got our successor in place - enjoy retirement....
  • Superstar says he's coming back one way or the other, starts the process to return to the working world, if not with previous company, with someone else...
  • Company blinks at 11th hour - offers superstar "golden parachute" professional services contract and severance of $20-25 Million, attempts to lock superstar in with included non-compete so he can't go elsewhere....

Of course, it doesn't sound like your company, because it's the NFL.  But there are still valuable lessons to learn from the madness.  Here are some notes from Yahoo Sports on the offer the Packers made to Favre to sit home, stay retired, not mess up their succession plan, and not compete with them...

"Brett Favre's reinstatement to the NFL was held up again Friday as the three-time MVP mulled getting paid not to play through a marketing deal with the Green Bay Packers that could resolve the standoff over his retirement.

The potential agreement, worth a reported $20 million over 10 years, might end Favre's bid to return just months after retiring. It also would likely keep him from reporting to Packers training camp and a team that is not planning to start him at quarterback for the first time since 1992.

After talking to Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy about the marketing deal Wednesday, Favre confirmed he was considering it to ESPN on Thursday."

Wow - only in America.  I took the negative emails in stride when I said that Brett Favre was now messing up a succession plan near you, but the world kind of came around to the fact that Favre was flip-flopping more than a political candidate after the Woodstock pictures showed up on CNN.  Now, the Packers are flip-flopping all over the place.   

What can you learn from this for your "regular" workplace?  Here are some of my thoughts; I'm sure you have some of your own.

1.  If you've got a Superstar executive who's retiring, and you don't want them to compete elsewhere, lock them up early - the Packers are saying the marketing PR deal has been on the table for awhile - really?  Would Favre have turned down $20 Million two weeks after he retired?  Companies do it with CEOs all the time by drifting them into a board seat, making them a paid consultant, etc.  If you have any concerns, lock the individual down early.

2.  If you are trying to move a succession plan along and need to make space for a successsor, find a position for the incumbent elsewhere in the organization - Not an option for the Packers, but many companies who are anxious to get on with a succession plan will make room for the incumbent elsewhere in the organization.  Who hasn't seen the press release showing an EVP of Global Sales being moved laterally to a strategy or product management position.  Again, not an option for the Packers, but for the corporate America players, there's always a way.

3.  Be decisive - Put all the options on the table and execute quickly.  Favre's an American icon, but the flip flopping and the "stand behind the plan/man" stance of the Packers was winning the PR war.  Then they flip and offer to pay him $20 million the weekend he's supposed to report.  Now, you've lost all that public goodwill by the sloppiness of timing.  If that was an option, it could have been positioned more effectively early on in the process.  Now you've got everybody confused about who actually is right.  Nice work.

By the time you read this, Favre's already reported to camp, has been traded or is warming up his jokes for the rubber chicken circuit as part of the $20 Million dollar deal.   Regardless of the outcome, the circus has been entertaining to watch....


Steve Roesler


Headed out the door to a consulting gig. Had a #4 sewn on the back of my suitcoat and am prepared to work out a financial settlement that will allow me to collect more than the usual professional fee if I can stay home and blog nice things about them instead of performing any actual consultation.

Will let you know how this works out...

laurie ruettimann

I agree and think that Brett Favre obviously needs the cash, right?

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