Getting the rock star treatment from Office Max__»

Although most of us will probably never know what it’s like to be a bona fide rock star, two named executive officers at OfficeMax, Inc. (OMX) got what looks like rock star treatment to us.

In an 8-K the company filed August 18, OfficeMax disclosed that it gave retention awards to Bruce Besanko, its Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer, and to Ryan Vero, its Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.

Besanko got 66,881 RSUs. The company listed the approximate value of the award as $740,373. That’s a lot of money, to be sure, but it’s especially generous when you consider how much Besanko makes. According to the proxy that OfficeMax filed on March 4, 2010, Besanko joined the company on February 16, 2009 with a starting annual base salary of $550,000 and a sign-on bonus of $150,000. (Previously, he worked as an executive at Circuit City Stores, Inc. and The Yankee Candle Company, Inc.) In October, 2009, in conjunction with his appointment to Chief Administrative Officer, the board raised his annual base salary to $575,000. Of course, base salaries are just a starting point for executives, and the proxy shows that Besanko’s total compensation for 2009 ended up at $1,863,403. Seen in that context, the grant of RSUs is still nice — nearly 40% of the total compensation package he got last year.

On the same day, OfficeMax gave Vero 62,054 RSUs with an approximate value of $686,938. Vero has actually been with the company since 1996, working his way up through a variety of management roles. In 2009, he earned a base salary of $533,540, which — when combined with equity awards and other types of compensation — grew to $1,305,886 in total compensation for that year. He, too, got more money from the retention award (assuming its value holds) than he makes from his regular paycheck.

For both men, the restricted shares vest on a pro-rated basis over three years, with a third of the shares vesting on each consecutive anniversary of the Award Date, August 13, 2010. The —2010 Restricted Stock Unit Award Agreement — Time Based, attached as Exhibit 99.1 to the 8-K, governs the specific terms of whether the shares will vest in a variety of different circumstances (e.g., termination, death, etc.)

Maybe this kind of rock star treatment gives you the best of both worlds: You get the money and glory— without the paparazzi.

Image source: xJasonRogersx via flickr


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