Huge selling bonus for Astal prez

Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) President and CEO George Cope (L) and Astral Media Inc. President and...

Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) President and CEO George Cope (L) and Astral Media Inc. President and CEO Ian Greenberg share a laugh after a news conference in Montreal March 16, 2012. (Christinne Muschi/REUTERS)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:22 PM ET

MONTREAL - Telecom giant Bell Canada Inc. is facing criticism for the $25-million bonus that Astral president Ian Greenberg will get as part of a deal to acquire his media company.

Greenberg will also pocket a $5.9-million severance under terms of the deal.

He's among several Astral executives who received the windfalls for giving the green light to the deal, according to an April 26 management information memo.

"Upon the unanimous recommendation of the special committee, the board approved the creation of a bonus and retention plan for the benefit of Astral's management and key employees in an aggregate amount of up to $45 million," reads the memo.

In March, BCE agreed to buy Astral Media, its largest content provider, in a $3-billion deal to lock up more of the programming carried over its media platforms and to expand its presence in Quebec.

A corporate governance expert says it's unusual for Greenberg to receive one lump of cash for staying and another for leaving when in fact he's staying on as a member of Bell's board.

"It's contradictory," said Michel Nadeau. "Either he goes or he stays, but he shouldn't get money for both."


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