Home FinanceBusiness Joseph Bachelder III, Engineer of the Golden Parachute, Dies at 88

Joseph Bachelder III, Engineer of the Golden Parachute, Dies at 88

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In 2003, Mr. Bachelder testified before a Senate committee on the topic of excessive C.E.O. pay, which Senator John McCain said at the time was “making a lot of Americans angry.” Mr. Bachelder said he did not believe that executive pay had “grown outrageously” and argued that generous compensation was justified by the outsize importance of a chief executive to a company’s success.

Mr. Bachelder closed his firm in 2012 and, at 79, joined the national law firm McCarter & English at its Manhattan office as a special counsel. He continued to represent clients, lecture at Harvard and contribute a monthly column to The New York Law Journal. Most recently he wrote about the impact of Covid-19 on executive pay.

For his part, Mr. Bachelder, perhaps not surprisingly, was able to command impressive compensation for himself. Joseph Boccassini, a managing partner at McCarter & English, said in an interview that Mr. Bachelder had billed at a rate of $1,115 an hour.

Joseph Elmer Bachelder III was born on Nov. 13, 1932, in Fulton, Mo., about 100 miles west of St. Louis. The family moved frequently.

His mother, Frances Gray Bachelder, was a homemaker and painter. His father, Joseph E. Bachelder Jr., was a professor and pollster who was credited as being the only in his field to have predicted Harry S. Truman’s 1948 presidential win.

His father’s statistical mind was believed to have influenced Mr. Bachelder’s way of thinking, his sister, Jane Johnson, said in a phone interview. He had “a computer chip for a brain,” she said.

Joseph graduated from Exeter Academy in New Hampshire in 1950, then graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1955, the same year he married Louise Mason. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1958 and practiced tax law before alighting on executive compensation as his niche. He settled in Princeton early in his career and lived there most of his life.

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