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More time with the family…

Does anyone really believe it when a CEO says he wants to spend more time with his family? That the reason Michael Potter, Chairman and CEO of Big Lots (BLI) announced that he was stepping down has nothing to do with the fact that the company blew its fourth quarter earnings estimates big time (old estimate: 67 to 74 cents a share; new estimate 48 to 51 cents a share) or, taking a longer term view, that the stock has been stagnant for years? Of course, Potter, 42, isn’t exactly slinking away. He’ll continue to serve as CEO until a replacement is found and will move into the newly created position of Chief Strategy Officer once a new person comes on board. He’ll also stand for re-election as Chairman at the company’s annual meeting in May. As Chief Strategy Officer, Potter will collect 50% of his current base salary of $765K and receive a lump-sum payment of $765K when he’s finished serving as CSO — it’s not clear from the filings how long the job will last — in exchange for a two-year non-compete agreement.