The Meaning of "Incentive"?

Big mergers seldom work. The evidence is overwhelming. Period. So why do we see so damn many of them? One reason, chronicled in the 12 December BusinessWeek, is captured by this article title: "FAT MERGER PAYOUTS FOR CEOs: Whose Interest Is Being Served?"

James Kilts peddles Gillette to P&G. And pockets $165,000,000 for offloading this big, well-run company—i.e., no earthly reason to sell, save King Kilts' Self-interest. Bruce Hammonds dumps MNBA, takes home $102,000,000. A.D. Cordell sells Georgia-Pacific and grabs $92,000,000. Toys 'R' Us goes down and the CEO, John Eyler, gets $63,000,000 for his sell & bail act. David Dorman delivers the coup de grace to AT&T ... and feathers his nest to the tune of $55,000,000.

One can at least mount a plausible argument to support CEO pay levels, but this ...