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(Not) everything’s coming up roses at Scott’s…

The past year has been less than miraculous at Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG). For starters, its stock has declined 36% since last September. As Michelle chronicled in 2007 (here and here), there have been a series of executive arrivals and departures. And the company’s recent 10-Q cites several problems in 2008, including a voluntary recall of bird food, an investigation by the EPA and the DOJ into product registration problems (Scotts estimates these two issues may cost the company between $55M-$60M), and a third-quarter net impairment/non-cash charge of nearly $102M.

Given these challenges, it’s no wonder that the board wanted to find a new master gardener. Enter Mark Baker, who will become Scotts President and Chief Operating Officer on October 1, 2008. (The 8-K the company filed last Friday reveals some verdant terms in Baker’s employment contract; for starters, he’ll get a salary of $900K, a —one-time transition bonus of $850K, and —lump-sum relocation benefits of $500K.)

Prior to joining Scotts, Baker worked as an executive for Gander Mountain Company (GMTN) and – before that – Home Depot. In the press release that announced Baker’s departure, David Pratt, Gander’s chairman of the board, said:

—Mark Baker came to Gander Mountain to grow the company into the nation’s largest retail network of outdoor lifestyle stores. During Mark’s tenure, Gander Mountain has grown to 115 stores in 23 states and re-entered the direct business with the acquisition of Overton’s and the recent launch of our new e-commerce site and catalog.

That may be true, but Gander’s shares declined almost 45% in the past year. Although a stock’s value doesn—t solely reflect the talents of its top executives, it’s understandable if Scotts’ shareholders watch the company’s future performance carefully.

Let’s hope that Baker has a metaphorical green thumb, and that it emerges soon. The company needs someone who has what it takes to perk up the stock price and lead the company back into lush profits.

Image Source: Scotts Miracle-Gro