Bottoms up!

February 27, 2007

pic_n's tim_lane03_w201h185.jpgSure it’s before noon on a Tuesday, but let’s lift our glasses to the executives at UST (UST), who in the proxy they filed yesterday, disclosed a very interesting perk: a wine allowance!

Though the amounts aren’t all that significant — the top dollar is $6,500 for Chairman and CEO Vincent Gierer and that seems to also include the cost of security services, no doubt to protect the wine cellar stocked with $8.99 bottles of Columbia Crest Merlot — it’s the idea of a wine allowance that seems a bit amusing. And the wording, which says the wine allowance is “to foster the use of the company’s wine products at events they host” seems interesting as well. Wouldn’t executives want to do this anyway? Keep in mind that Gierer’s total compensation last year was over $6 million, so presumably he can afford to buy wine without an allowance. UST executives aren’t the only ones drinking up. Non-employee directors also get a $5K “wine allowance” as well.

It’s not clear if this is a new perk or just a new disclosure. To be fair, the amount in question doesn’t seem to warrant disclosure, since it’s under $10K a pop, so UST deserves some credit. Thanks to a footnoted regular for pointing this one out to me. And if you come across an interesting tidbit buried in the filings, please let me know, since it’s simply impossible for me to get to every filing.

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