The board of directors at Hydro One should resign “immediately” after revelations they made it easier for CEO Mayo Schmidt to get a $10.7 million severance if he were fired without cause, PC Leader Doug Ford said Thursday.
“This is outrageous. This is shameful,” Ford told reporters at an airport hotel after the Globe and Mail reported change of control provisions at Hydro One were quietly altered in a vote of the board last November to discourage government intervention in the former Crown corporation.
“They only care about increasing their payout and lining their own pockets and feathering their own nest...on the way out the door,” added Ford.
He pledged last week to fire the Hydro One board and get it to fire Schmidt, who earned $6 million in total compensation last year, if his Progressive Conservatives win the June 7 election.
Under the new provisions, any move by the government to replace the board of directors over a two-year period would constitute a change in control, triggering Schmidt’s $10.7 million payout if he were to be fired without cause.
Previously, only a wholesale firing of the board would have triggered the change of control provisions and the hefty severance to Schmidt, who would only have been entitled to a $5.04 million payout if fired without cause without the change in control.
Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said the government’s members on the Hydro One board are not there to “micromanage” the corporation and accused Ford of trying to create a “banana republic” atmosphere by threatening business leaders.
“The decisions are made by the board on executive compensation,” he said.
Hydro One, which is owned 47 per cent by the government after a partial privatization, said it would comment later Thursday.