Feeling nutty at Diamond…

February 14, 2008

images-11.jpegI sometimes feel like the revised SEC proxy disclosures have merely given companies an excuse to drone on and on about their compensation “philosophies.” But this proxy that Diamond Foods (DMND) filed Monday – its first effort since the new rules went into effect ‘— shows how the current regime forces some improved disclosures, especially when it comes to perks.

In last year’s proxy, Diamond (whose slogan is “crazy about nuts”) reported $152K of “other compensation” (i.e., perks) for President/CEO Michael Mendes, which it described in a footnote to the summary comp table as “relocation costs.” (Diamond had also paid nearly $200K in relocation costs for Mendes in 2004.) But the table included a second “other compensation” column that showed yet another $91K in perks for Mendes, including nearly $40K for financial planning/tax preparation and another $30K for “temporary living expenses.” It was all very confusing.

This year, under the new rules, Diamond included a handy-dandy chart neatly breaking down all its perks, and as it turns out there were plenty to go around for all 5 of the named executive officers. For Mendes, the extras for 2007 added up to nearly $250K. This included a nice chunk – $111K – for yet more “housing and moving expenses,” plus $86K in gross-ups for taxes he had to pay on housing and financial planning reimbursements. (You know you’ve made it when your perks come with perks.)

Crazy about nuts, crazy about perks, whatever.

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