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A moving offer at Scotts Miracle-Gro __»

Moving is rarely much fun, so we’re not all that surprised when top corporate executives get special deals to coax them from one company location to another. But a filing late last week from Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. (SMG) caught our eye for its attention to detail.

To lure Claude Lopez, head of international business with a French subsidiary of the company, to its corporate headquarters in the U.S. to serve as president of global sales starting next fall, the company tackled pretty nearly every angle we can think of in his new employment agreement, filed with an 8-K on Thursday.

Naturally, the company is covering the cost of transplanting his family from Paris to corporate headquarters in Marysville, Ohio (pop. 18,212) — a one-time, $100,000 “mobility allowance.” It also promised him a $6,000-a-month “housing allowance to cover the cost of a rental home, utilities and furniture, if applicable.” In addition, Lopez will get $4,000 of free personal financial tax planning, or cash in lieu of arranging the service — plus, “at no cost, the preparation of his United States and French annual tax returns, for all calendar tax years” through the three-year contract’s term.

Then Scotts Miracle-Gro threw in a company car, a $6,000 annual physical at the Mayo Clinic and, of course, a pledge to pay “reasonable” moving costs to get him and his family back to Paris eventually — and 10 round-trip, business-class plane tickets back to France each year for him and his family. To ease any worries of losing the famed French social safety-net, the company promised to pay

“as necessary to maintain all state provided health and welfare, unemployment and retirement coverage amounts for the Executive in France based on the same levels the Executive would have enjoyed had he remained an associate in France for the Term.”

To cap it off, Scotts Miracle-Gro also promised to make up any loss Lopez might experience because of different tax treatment while working in the United States, “such that the Executive will owe no greater (or lesser) taxes on the Executive’s Base Salary, the Mobility Allowance Payment and his Annual Bonus Award, if applicable (or such other payment or benefit that is subject to the tax equalization protection as expressly set forth herein), compared to the taxes that would be due on the same compensation in France—” (But notice that “(or lesser)” language: If he’s left in a better tax position because of the move, Lopez “shall, upon request, make a payment to the Company in United States dollars—”)

All that, of course, is on top of his $475,000-a-year salary and target bonus of $261,250, plus unspecified long-term incentive payments and retirement benefits. (Lopez luckily inked his agreement, which determined his U.S. salary based on his current Euro paycheck, before the Euro went on its most recent gyrations: At today’s exchange rates, his American pay would be closer to $421,000.)

We can imagine it takes a lot to uproot one’s family from the City of Light to Ohio (or pretty much anywhere else, for that matter). Scotts Miracle-Gro seems to have found a formula for making it at least a little easier.

Image source: TheMuuj via Flickr

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