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Hardship transfers at Dresser-Rand Group …

Earlier this week, we looked at what it took Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) to bring an executive to its Ohio headquarters from Paris to head its global sales operations. Apparently, it’s just as tough to get Texans to move to Paris.

At least, that’s what it looks like from the 8-K that Dresser-Rand Group (DRC) filed on Thursday. The Houston company makes turbines and other “custom-engineered rotating equipment solutions” for the energy and power industry, among other things, and back in March it announced that it planned to open an “additional headquarters office” in the City of Light. In fact, yesterday’s filing makes clear, the company plans to move “most of its senior executive officers” there — though Chief Financial Officer Mark E. Baldwin will stay behind in Space City (that would be Houston, over).

And judging from the filings, moving doesn’t come easily — or cheaply. Most of the executives are covered by a broad relocation agreement, but Chief Executive Vincent R. Volpe Jr. has his own. For the most part, though, they’re similar. Some highlights:

  • a $6,000 lump-sum Relocation Allowance;
  • an È8,000-a-month housing allowance;
  • a “goods and services differential” of $2,800 to $3,350 a month, net of taxes, which can rise or fall with inflation and other factors;
  • a weeklong house-hunting trip with the spouse;
  • language lessons for the family;
  • schooling for dependent children making the move, and two round-trip tickets a year for those that don’t;
  • an unspecified “tax equalization benefit”;
  • “concierge service” to help set up phone and utility service;
  • a paid parking space “if necessary,” and “access to” a company vehicle;
  • “reasonable reimbursement” for appliances, “as your home country appliances may not be compatible with French utilities”;
  • reimbursement for pet transport, quarantine and vaccination.

Give Dresser-Rand and its top brass credit for this much: They thought of pretty nearly everything. Still, it’s not all brie and baguettes: If the execs don’t maintain a primary residence at home, they must chip in $2,300 a month toward their own housing expenses.

Dresser-Rand calls the perks and benefits “customary for expatriate assignments in the industry,” and notes they last only five years. After that, execs get relocated to the U.S., become “localized” (which we assume means they get paid and treated like locals, not expats) or they can be sent home without a job but with severance that seems to generally work out to 150% of salary.

We’ll take Dresser-Rand’s word for it that this sort of benefit package is “customary” in its industry. But even assuming that’s the case, we have to wonder: Is it it still customary to give such thorough expatriate benefits when pretty much all the brass are going overseas?

Image source: garryknight via Flickr

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