Helix exec cleans up prior to departure…

January 28, 2011

A week ago, Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. (HLX) announced it had signed some new agreements for its Helix Fast Response System – a containment system that cleans up oil if another catastrophic spill occurs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Also on Jan. 21 (but not disclosed until this Jan. 25 8-K was filed), Helix’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Bart H. Heijermans, resigned and did a little cleaning up for himself – to the tune of more than $1.8 million. Although Helix’s press release offered no explanation for Heijermans’ departure, company CEO/President, Owen Kratz, said, “We appreciate Bart’s work and contributions to the company, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Helix doesn’t plan to hire a new COO; the press release states that Kratz and other members of senior management will take on Heijermans’ responsibilities.

But it’s hard for us to believe that Heijermans’ really announced his resignation and quit on the same day; that’s because the parties signed a 12-page Separation and Release Agreement and a 2-page Stock and Cash Award Amendment Agreement, and both are dated – yes, you guessed it – Jan. 21. While these types of documents can be brief, these were not, so it’s a pretty safe bet that this was in the works for weeks, if not longer.

Helix is paying Heijermans a $450,000 separation payment and $600,000 to compensate him for his 2010 and 2011 target bonuses. It’s paying him another $750,419 for his 2009 and 2010 Cash Opportunity Awards. And whereas forfeiture restrictions on Heijermans’ restricted stock would ordinarily apply since he resigned, Helix agreed that they won’t apply to 37,195 of his shares; rather, accelerated vesting will kick in as soon as the revocation period for the agreement expires.

Now that’s an effective clean-up.

Image source: Helix Energy Solutions Group’s website

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