AUSTIN, Texas (CNN) - Republican vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney spent his last day on the job Wednesday as chairman and CEO of Halliburton Co., an oil-services giant, and walked away a far richer man.|
Cheney's retirement package will cost the Dallas-based company $8.5 million this quarter alone, according to a statement released by Halliburton. The statement said Cheney, who is leaving after five years with the company, took an early retirement, which he is eligible for because he is over age 55 and he will not receive severance benefits.
Guy Marcus, a vice president for investor relations at Halliburton (HAL: Research, Estimates), said he couldn't put a dollar figure on Cheney's total retirement package because some of the benefits will be provided at a later date.
But† the company said that Cheney, 59, will retain stock options on 1,160,000 shares of Halliburton common stock.† The stock will cost him† between $21 and $54 a share depending upon which of six separate stock options he exercises.
Shares of Halliburton ended Wednesday trading up 2-19/32 at 54-1/32, putting the potential value of Cheney's stock option at $62.6 million. Cheney must purchase the stock and would realize an immediate profit on any option with a price less than current market price.
Cheney will also receive a prorated portion of any annual incentive payment, which may be earned for the year 2000, the statement said. Marcus cited that as one of the benefits whose value cannot be immediately determined.
Dave Lesar, Cheney's successor at Halliburton, praised Cheney.† "Dick Cheney has provided Halliburton with outstanding leadership during his five years with Halliburton," Lesar said in the statement. "He has worked together with the management team to establish corporate strategies that have strengthened the company's technological and worldwide presence."
He said Halliburton stock had risen 150 percent during Cheney's tenure at the company.
Cheney has said he has no intention of divesting himself of his stock while he is a candidate but will do so if he is elected.
His spokesman Dirk Van de Beek said Wednesday, "Secretary Cheney will do whatever the law requires and will do whatever he needs to do to avoid a conflict of interest."
Cheney interrupted a vacation in Wyoming to fly to Houston and say goodbye to some of the people he has worked with at one of the company's subsidiaries said Juleanna Glover, a spokeswoman for the candidate, who described it as a "great day."
Cheney returned to Wyoming Wednesday to resume his vacation.
He and Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush return to the campaign trail Friday for rallies in Tennessee, Al Gore's home state, and Dallas, Cheney's adopted hometown.
Last week, Karen Hughes, communications director for the Bush campaign, dismissed any possible objections to Cheney's retirement package.
"The American people should be pleased that the next vice president was such a success and oversaw a company that became one of the top energy service companies in the world," she said.