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Gold star Fridays return…

It’s been four weeks since I’ve awarded a gold star, though it hasn’t been for lack of trying. Regular readers know that I try to hand out a gold star every Friday, though it’s not always easy. But the proxy filed by Micros Systems (MCRS) on Wednesday qualifies for a few reasons. For one, there’s the disclosure that the company doesn’t believe in perks for the top executives. That means no personal use of the corporate jet, no luxury apartments, no executive health plan, no private school tuition, etc…Instead a footnote to the proxy notes that the only perk executives receive are the same health insurance benefits that all employees get.

But what really makes Micros stand out is that they make it very easy for individual investors to see how much the executive’s options are really worth. Because they offer no perks, the amount of money listed under “other annual compensation” in the summary comp table is the value of the options exercised in the past year. Most companies make investors work for this information by forcing them to read multiple charts and the accompanying footnotes.

The proceeds from options are hardly small numbers: for Chairman and CEO A.L. Giannopoulos, this number was $17.2 million. Even the lowest guy on the executive totem pole made nearly $4 million on options exercises. But given that the stock has nearly doubled over the past year, I don’t have a problem with the amounts. Indeed, I’d even make the argument that by spending less time coming up with creative compensation programs, Micros’ executives are able to focus more of their energy on growing the business, which in turn, rewards both the executives and the investors who buy shares.