In a year when average compensation for Houston’s top executives took its biggest hit in decades, any sort of boost in benefits for CEOs stands out. But the whopping 790 percent compensation increase for Floyd C. Wilson, CEO of Halcón Resources Corp., dwarfed the compensation bumps of his contemporaries and highlighted an unusual benefit of declaring bankruptcy.
Wilson emerged from Halcón’s September bankruptcy with shares in the reorganized company that pushed the value of his annual compensation up to $24.1 million, nearly 800 percent above his 2015 compensation of around $2.9 million. Halcón declined to comment on Wilson’s compensation.
Wilson might be an outlier among Houston’s top 10 highest-paid CEOs – which include the heads of major energy companies like Phillips 66, Halliburton and Schlumberger – but he is part of a group of at least two dozen executives whose compensation received boosts after their companies declared bankruptcy, according to data compiled by corporate consultants Longnecker & Associates.
That number will likely rise as more companies emerge from bankruptcy in 2017, following a brutal 2016 during which oil prices plunged to $26 a barrel and energy companies laid off tens of thousands of workers, said Chris Crawford, Longnecker’s president. Crawford estimates that between 25 and 50 Houston executives benefited from the management incentive plans aimed at keeping experienced management teams in place during rough times.