Exide puts the “juice” in new CEO’s agreement…

It’s a busy week within the executive ranks at Exide Technologies (XIDE). Exide produces and recycles lead-acid batteries in 80 countries and had 2009 net sales of $3.3 billion.

Today is the last day for president/COO Edward —E. J. O—Leary, who has been with the company since 2005. But Exide made another executive announcement just yesterday. In an 8-K, it disclosed the terms of the employment agreement with newly appointed president/CEO James Bolch. Bolch, who will start July 26, succeeds retiring CEO Gordon Ulsh.

Bolch comes to Exide from Ingersoll Rand, where he has been the SVP and President of the Industrial Technologies Sector. His career with various global industrial businesses spans nearly three decades.

Bolch’s base salary will start at $850,000, but it’s guaranteed to jump to at least $900,000 per year after his first anniversary with the company. After that, the board’s compensation committee ——shall periodically review Executive’s Base Salary for increase (but not decrease), consistent with the compensation practices and guidelines of the Company.

But he gets much more than just a salary. For starters, Exide is paying him a $1.5 million lump sum bonus when he officially starts work. If he’s still there a year later, he gets another $1 million lump sum bonus. And if he’s still there on December 31, 2012, Exide will pay him another lump sum —Inducement Bonus of $1,713,200. He’s also eligible for performance bonuses and discretionary bonuses.

Exide is giving Bolch 750,000 restricted shares of common stock that will vest in full on his third anniversary with the company. During the current fiscal year — which runs through March 31, 2011 — Bolch may also receive LTIP annual equity awards ——with a target value at the date of award equal to 300% of Base Salary.

In Exide’s press release, board Chairman John P. Reilly said he and his colleagues selected Bolch after a —comprehensive review of a strong field of candidates. He continued:

—[Bolch] is the ideal leader for Exide, combining deep operational acumen with a proven track record of driving innovation and strategic growth—. His broad expertise and insights will be instrumental in strengthening Exide’s position as an integrated global supplier of environmentally sound energy storage products and solutions for traditional and alternative energy markets—.

In addition to hoping that Bolch is the right leader for the company, shareholders are probably hoping that he—ll put a spark in Exide’s stock price, which is currently trading at $5.96 a share.


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