McAfee’s CEO stuck in California…

When McAfee (MFE) hired David DeWalt as its new CEO in April 2007, DeWalt’s offer letter specifically stated that he would have six months to relocate to Dallas-Ft. Worth and that the company would pay for various moving expenses as well as “reasonable expenses for weekly round-trip airfare to California” where DeWalt lived.

Make that lives, according to the proxy that McAfee filed last week. A footnote to the summary compensation table lists $14,484 in commuting expenses for 2007 and another $61,102 for something called a “living allowance” — presumably the cost of providing DeWalt with an apartment and probably a car in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. There’s also a $62,781 tax gross-up to cover those expenses.

It’s not the amounts that are particularly alarming here. It’s the lack of clear disclosure. Other than the brief mention in the employment letter, there’s no other disclosure about these expenses. Indeed, McAfee’s CD&A, has lots of different bullet points, but has this to say about perquisites:

In general, we do not view perquisites as a significant component of our executive compensation structure. The compensation committee occasionally approves perquisites, primarily for retention purposes or to accommodate specific, and usually temporary, circumstances of executives who do not reside near their work locations. See the —Summary Compensation Table for more details.

Needless to say, the summary compensation table isn’t very informative. And there isn’t any details in other filings either. It would be pretty easy to overlook if DeWalt was the only one. But the same summary comp table lists $53K in commuting expenses for former CFO and COO Eric Brown, who stepped down in April. The only silver lining is that in 2006, Brown’s commuting expenses were over $121K.

Still, the lack of disclosure, especially in light of the SEC saying they’re looking for more details, not less, when it comes to the CD&A is pretty interesting.