Janus Departure Evokes Shakespeare

It appears to have been a busy weekend in Denver, judging by this exhibit to an 8-K that Janus Capital Group (JNS) filed with the SEC yesterday.

On Sunday, Chief Executive Officer Gary Black’s employment with Janus was —terminated by mutual agreement. And — based on the parting package that Black is getting – we would understand if he bade his former colleagues adieu with Juliet’s famous line from Act II, —Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow—.

Here’s what made Black’s departure seem pretty sweet to us: First, he’ll get a lump sum cash payment of almost $6.8 million within 30 days after his right to revoke the agreement expires. Next, if the directors and shareholders agree to reduce the strike price of the company’s outstanding stock options, then the price of Black’s options will fall, too. Janus agreed to pay for Black’s COBRA premiums for a year and may pay for other insurance premiums, as well. His restricted common stock options and mutual fund unit awards will vest immediately. And – last but not least – the company will pay up to $50,000 for Black to relocate to New Jersey, and it will pay the attorney’s fees he spent to negotiate the agreement.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every exit had such a soft landing? According to this article, Black had fought —for more than three years to rebuild the mutual-fund company and cut the pay and influence of individual investment managers. Indeed, it’s been quite awhile since we last footnoted the executive comings and goings at Janus — all the way back in footnoted’s early days of 2004.

At least he’s leaving amid some good news for the company, though. As this article reports, 2nd quarter earnings were better than expected. We’ll have to wait and see what happens to Black – and Janus – in the next act.