Soft Landing for Lou

No airline food, no bag restrictions, no lines.

Do you really want to know which companies are raking in the cash these days and who among them is bluffing? Try looking at the executive compensation packages, which show up in sometimes really fine print on filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Arguably one of the highest fliers these days is IBM, which is maintaining its altitude among the investment community at a time when the Nasdaq exchange has hacked off three stories on a five-story building.

Even though the companys stock price has been floating between $100 and $110, down from a 52-week high of $137, thats a lot better than the rest of the tech industry has been performing on Wall Street of late. As a reward, IBM is going to keep its CEO, Lou Gerstner, flying high—literally—for at least a decade after he retires.

According to the SEC documents, Gerstner will be paid a daily consulting fee for 10 years after his retirement, and during that time he will also have use of company facilities.

That includes a corporate jet, cars, offices and financial planning. Its good to be the king.

In contrast, Idealab! CEO Bill Gross has put his $38 million jet up for sale. He bought the luxurious transport about six months ago.