A steep price…

West Marine (WMAR) recently went fishing for a new CEO to replace John Edmondson and has come up with a veteran executive: Peter Harris, who has served as the skipper at such diverse companies as FAO Schwarz, at a time when the upscale toy store was actually growing instead of contracting and the San Francisco 49ers. But hiring that kind of talent isn’t coming cheaply for West Marine shareholders. Harris, 60, who starts on Jan. 3, will be paid $800,000 a year, roughly 60 percent more than Edmondson made last year. He’ll also collect a $175,000 signing bonus and be able to purchase 360,000 stock options starting in January 2006 at the fair market price on Jan. 3, 2005.

Meanwhile, Edmondson, who despite being the same age as Harris, is retiring, will continue to serve as a part-time employee for the next five years. It’s not clear from the filings how much Edmondson will be paid for his services. As CEO, he made $506,336 last year.