So Viacom chief executive Tom Freston is out — forced out, i.e., fired. But he leaves with a nice parting gift: about a hundred million bucks and at least that in un-used stock options.

Which got me thinking: What keeps a hotshot executive hot when he has nothing financially to fear if he gets cold? Where's the motivation? Where's the impetus?

Look, it's a free market and every uber-executive is a free agent. I just wonder about the price it's costing.

After all, if you're sure to get a lot of money on the way out, why would you work so hard while you're still in?

Now, I don't think Mr. Freston was ever guilty of being lazy. By almost all accounts, he created multi-billion-dollar assets which sparkled, versus a relationship with boss Sumner Redstone that clearly did not.

I know how that goes.

What worries me isn't so much what we pay promising executives, but the risk-reward relationship we've forgotten with promising executives.

As Jack Welch himself encouraged: reward greatness, penalize failure — not before the fact, but "after" the fact.

Freston is a richer man for having tried and failed. All too many leave with that kind of dough having never tried at all.

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Neil Cavuto serves as senior vice president, anchor and managing editor for both FOX News Channel (FNC) and FOX Business Network (FBN). He is anchor of FNC's Your World with Cavuto - the number one rated cable news program for the 4 p.m. timeslot - as well as the FNC Saturday show Cavuto on Business. He also hosts Cavuto on FBN weeknights at 8 p.m. In addition to anchoring daily programs and breaking news specials on FNC and FBN, Cavuto oversees business news content for both networks and FNC's weekend business shows, including Bulls & Bears, Forbes on Fox, and Cashin' In. Click here for more on Neil Cavuto.