: a generous severance agreement for a corporate executive in the event of a sudden dismissal (as because of a merger)
Much like the "golden handshake" of the 1960's, the GOLDEN PARACHUTE became a widely used term among corporate bigwigs in the 80's—likely linked to the recession in the decade's first couple years. Scholarly sites are hesitant to nail down the phrase's origin, while "others" link the term to the instance in 1961 when investors tried to remove Howard Hughes from his position at TWA. This destroys my mental image of the GOLDEN PARACHUTE of the 1980's—all the while I've been picturing a Christian-Bale-American-Psycho corporate sphere.
According to InvestorWords.com, there are a handful of other corporate terms that employ the word "golden":
the (aforementioned) golden handshake: a large payment made by a company to a senior executive upon termination of employment before his/her contract ends
the golden cross: an event in forex trading where two moving averages are moving in the same direction implying that a currency with move in that direction within a short period of time
the golden boot: financial incentive for a worker to retire early
the golden handcuffs: rewards and penalties designed to discourage key employees from leaving a company
The Urban Dictionary, however, includes an entry InvestorWords neglects to mention:
the golden doorway: standing on the roof of a complex such as an apartment or a skyscraper and peeing over the main entrance creating a golden flow of urinary goodness that pours over anyone who walks through the pathway.