New GE CEO Larry Culp signs stock-heavy contract worth up to $300 million if shares soar

Key Points
  • New GE CEO Larry Culp signed a compensation plan that could pay out handsomely over the next four years.
  • If GE shares rise 50 percent by late 2022, Culp would get a payout of about $47 million in stock.
  • "It's the best performance-oriented contract I've ever seen," CNBC's Jim Cramer says.
General Electric agrees to big pay package with new CEO

General Electric is in dire need of a turnaround. It will pay its new CEO handsomely if he can pull one off.

Larry Culp, named GE chairman and CEO on Monday, will receive a compensation package of up to $21 million a year in salary, bonuses and stock for the next four years. Beginning next year, GE will annually give Culp a salary of $2.5 million, a bonus of about $3.75 million and equity awards valued at $15 million.

But that's not the best part for Culp: If the stock rises more than 50 percent, he also gets a payday of about $47 million. And he gets more money if it rises further.

"If we get up 150 percent, we're talking $300 million," David Faber, who reported details of the contract, noted on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Friday.

The one-time pay out at the end of the third quarter in 2022 is based on performance metrics for Culp, marked by increases in GE stock.

If the company's stock rises 50 percent, Culp gets 2.5 million GE shares at about $18.60 a share – or about $47 million. If the company's stock rises 150 percent, Culp gets 7.5 million shares at $31 a share – or about $233 million. Added to his annual pay and awards, Culp could bring in as much as $317 million.

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"That is a contract that, if you're performance oriented, it's the best performance-oriented contract I've ever seen," CNBC's added. "And I don't think anyone's seen a better one."

GE shares were trading around $12.65 before the package was announced. Assuming its outstanding share count remains constant, GE's current market capitalization of $110 billion would rise to $270 billion at $31 a share, an increase of about $155 billion.

The company's stock rose 3.4 percent in Friday trading.

Culp, 55, brings more than a decade of success as the CEO of Danaher to his new role at General Electric, giving investors new hope for the embattled industrial conglomerate. Danaher now holds its place as one of the world's largest science and technology conglomerates, after Culp more than quintupled the company's market value and revenues while CEO.

"Larry is a proven executive with a long track record of superior execution, and the Board's package to attract Larry is overwhelmingly tied to performance," GE said in a statement. "Nearly 90% of his annual pay will be at risk and his one-time grant will only pay out if there is a 50-150% increase in GE's stock price."

He comes to GE at a desperate time. Ousted CEO John Flannery was promising shareholders he would trim GE down to three core businesses, but the company was not turning around as quickly as its board of directors had hoped. GE's announcement Monday that Culp will replace Flannery was a surprise move.

Culp was named to the GE board in April.