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Gone, but not forgotten…

casket.jpegYesterday, medical devices/casket company Hillenbrand (HB) filed its proxy with the much anticipated (at least amongst SEC Filings geeks) summary comp table with a separate column for "total compensation" — a figure that is now mandatory. Comparing that to the previous year’s table, it’s easy to quickly see the differences. For example, in last year’s proxy, adding up the figures for Batesville casket CEO Kenneth Camp’s compensation comes to $709.5K. But in the current proxy, that number shoots up to $1.02 million for fiscal 2005, or 44% higher for the same exact year. The difference is solely due to the value of the options.

But perhaps even more interesting is the disclosure on former CEO W. August Hillenbrand, who retired at the end of 2000 and entered into a five-year consulting contract which ended in Sept. 2005. That’s because Hillenbrand (the man) is still collecting a hefty chunk of change from Hillenbrand (the company): last year, he received $12 million in deferred compensation (up from $9.3 million in fiscal 2005) and an additional $816K in "additional benefits", which the company says includes office space, a secretary, use of the corporate jet and, needless to say, the tax gross-up. That’s a 40% increase from the $582K the company spent in fiscal 2005 for the same bunch of items. The company doesn’t break down the reason for the higher numbers in either deferred comp or the expenses, so it’s hard to say what’s behind the hefty increases.

Of course, now that Hillenbrand is just a director, as opposed to an executive officer, I’m pretty certain that the company didn’t have to provide any level of detail on his compensation (though feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). Indeed, one of the biggest secrets when it comes to executive pay is what happens the year after a top executive leaves. If those deals are anything like the one that Hillenbrand managed to get, it just goes to show you how even the newly revised summary compensation table really only tells part of the story.