New contract called for chairman to receive a $4 million severance payment if the company changed hands before his retirement. [NYP]

A day before Ripplewood Holdings made its $17-a-share offer to take Reader’s Digest Association private, the company’s chairman Thomas O. Ryder replaced his old employment contract with a new one that gives him a gigantic golden parachute worth more than $4.5 million, according to a recent SEC filing.