an employment contract or agreement guaranteeing a key executive of a company substantial severance pay and other financial benefits in the event of job loss caused by the company's being sold or merged.
A provision in the contracts of many top executives that guarantees substantial benefits if they lose their positions.
A generous package of benefits offered to an employee as an inducement for early retirement or departure from a company: “Following the merger, many executives decided to leave after the offer of a golden parachute.”
The term golden handshake means essentially the same thing: “The principal accepted the golden handshake in lieu of being demoted to assistant principal.”
Both expressions are from the last quarter of the twentieth century, when such packages were offered frequently.