Ann Curry said goodbye to Matt Lauer and the rest of the gang on NBC’s “Today” show this week. Her departure came after weeks of media speculation about whether the network would fire her due to shrinking ratings.
Curry was in the first year of a three-year $30 million contract when NBC decided to let her go. She reportedly netted a severance agreement that included $10 million as well as a job as an international correspondent for NBC. When an employee in Broward County is asked to step down or sign a severance agreement, it is very wise that he or she talks with an employment law attorney as these contracts have several legal and career implications.
In addition to the obvious financial concerns of a severance agreement, it is also necessary to consider whether any other legal contract issues are involved such as a non-compete or a confidentiality agreement. Furthermore, it is wise to consider whether any legal claims for wrongful termination, discrimination or other issues are involved in the separation.
These are just a few of the issues involved in dealing with severance and non-compete agreements here in South Florida. It is often possible to negotiate an acceptable separation agreement that will help put the former employee on the path to success.
The following are some of the most famous celebrity severance agreements:
- Rosie O’Donnell: The Oprah Winfrey Network cancelled her show this year after only five months. OWN reportedly paid her $15 million to vacate a $40 million deal.
- Conan O’Brien: O’Brien was pushed out of his desk on “The Tonight Show” by the return of Jay Leno. NBC sent him packing with $33 million and gave his staff of 200 people a total of $12 million.
- Mariah Carey: Virgin records cuts ties with the singer in 2000 with an $8 million check.
- Keith Olbermann: Severance agreements can sometimes be negotiated even when someone is fired for wrongdoing. Olbermann was fired for violating MSNBC policy by donating to Congressional candidates. He reportedly was paid $7 million in severance.
Source: Time, “Ann Curry’s Today Show Exit: 8 Famous Contract Buyouts,” June 29, 2012