A buttery departure at Smart Balance…

Smart Balance (SMBL) is one of those companies I’ve followed for a long time because of its ties to my alma mater, Brandeis. As I footnoted in this 2010 post, Smart Balance was actually invented by Brandeis scientists, something that the school features prominently on its “Points of Pride“.

So last week, when I saw this 8-K announcing the sudden departure of President and COO Terrence Schulke, which was part of a larger overall corporate restructuring, I couldn’t help but take a closer look, given all that history. Needless to say, it’s a pretty sweet deal.

The press release that the company put out last week said that Schulke, who had been with Smart Balance since 2007, was leaving to pursue “other opportunities” as the company, which had been based in Paramus, NJ, was relocating to Boulder. Though it was pretty far down in the release, Chairman and CEO Steve Hughes had nice things to say about Schulke. Here’s a snip:

“I believe Terry will be very successful in any venture he pursues and wish him only the best. The Board of Directors and I deeply appreciate his many contributions over the past five years as we evolved from a single-brand, single-category model to a comprehensive, natural brands-based, balanced portfolio.

What the press release left out was any of the juicy details of Schulke’s agreement, which was attached to the 8-K. In addition to $1.2 million in severance and immediate vesting of 275,000 options and RSUs, and another 250,000 options that he’ll be able to exercise over the next 8 years, the company will continue to pay the monthly charges for a company-owned apartment in New York City that Schulke will have “exclusive use of” through July 2013. That will cost the company $8,663 a month, which includes ” electricity, cable, and monthly parking garage costs.”

Between the severance, options and free living expenses, that should give Schulke enough of a cushion to contemplate whatever comes next.

Image source: Shutterstock


During this ongoing transition period, I continue to read filings, focus on footnotedPro and tweet regularly @footnoted, so don’t think that I’ve simply disappeared into the ether.