It's trendy lately to rage against the cushy deals that retired execs get but it saddens me a little to learn that Lee Iacocca, the car executive who turned Chrysler around n the 1980s, may lose a major part of his pension and a guaranteed life-long company car as part of the fall-out from Chrysler's bankruptcy deal. Reuters reports that Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli told a U.S. bankruptcy court that Iacocca's pension would be among the obligations Chrysler won't be paying if it gets bankruptcy court approval to sell itself to a "New Chrysler" to be owned by its union, the U.S. and Canadian governments and Fiat. Iacocca's retirement was part of a supplemental executive retirement plan including non-IRS qualified pension funds that are therefore subject to bankruptcy. Chrysler is also stopping a program that gave company cars for life to former executives and directors including Iacocca (shown above in 2005 with a Mercedes Maybach).
Iacocca, who was the president of Ford in the mid 1960s, came to national attention in the 1980s when he starred in the Chrylser commercials touting the quality and durability of his American-made cars. The gallery below traces Iacocca's career including his ill-fated adventure in selling electric bicycles. In a commercial from 1984, placed after the jump, it's interesting to see how Iacocca dealt with the bankruptcy facing his company over two decades ago. His straight talking approach and focus on hard work appealed directly to the American people buying his cars. As he says in the commercial: "I have one, and only one, ambition for Chrysler, to be the best."