His and hers…

April 3, 2006

What do you get the husband and wife who have everything? Here’s a suggestion: matching severance agreements. That’s exactly what Dow Jones & Co. (DJ) gave outgoing chairman and former CEO Peter Kann and his wife, former WSJ publisher Karen Elliott House according to this 8-K filed late Friday. Though the company announced that the pair would be leaving in early January and that Kann was being replaced by Richard Zannino as CEO, it said it was still working out the details, as I noted in this post. What isn’t particularly clear is why it took Dow Jones a month to file this 8-K, since the agreements are all dated Feb. 28.

So how will the retiring couple be receiving? According to Kann’s agreement, he’ll continue to collect a salary of $995K through next April while he serves as Chairman and is eligible for a target bonus of $896K this year. Then there’s another $2.52 million worth of stock. In addition, once Kann retires as chairman, an unspecified number of stock options will continue to vest "as if you had remained in service with the company." Though the agreement spells out Kann’s duties as Chairman, which include "advising the CEO as he may reasonably request", unlike a lot of these agreements, it doesn’t spell out how many hours Kann will be expected to devote to this. As for House, she’ll receive $1.7 million over the next 24 months and continued vesting of her options.

One other interesting little tidbit about the two agreements: Kann’s was only 8 pages. But House’s was a whopping 38.

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