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Pier One gives its directors a big raise…

One of the last filings to come over the wire on Friday was this proxy filed by Pier One (PIR), which according to the SEC, was filed at 5:22. As footnoted regulars know, anything filed late on a Friday almost certainly has something in it worth the time to at least skim and Pier One’s didn’t disappoint.

Although the economy is sputtering and many retailers are struggling, Pier One directors saw their personal wealth rise dramatically last year. Instead of the $33K annual retainer plus additional fees for various meetings that Pier One directors used to receive, they’re now getting $150K (the meeting fees have been eliminated). That hefty raise meant that several directors made nearly $100,000 more in fiscal 2008 than they did in 2007. For example, former IBM (IBM) executive, John Burgoyne made $186K last year as a Pier One director, compared with $87K the year before. And Terry London, who chairs the audit committee, received $194K in fiscal 2008, compared with $90K in fiscal 2007.

Remember that no matter how hard these directors worked, this is still a part-time job. And most of Pier One’s recent improvements have come in fiscal 2009. Indeed, even though the directors were paid more last year than the year before, they met a lot less — just five times for the whole board in fiscal 2008, compared with 12 times in fiscal 2007.

In the CD&A, the company lists comparable companies. It’s meant as a point of comparison for executive salaries, but it’s also handy when comparing director salaries. While I didn’t check all 20 companies listed, the four that I did look at — Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Ann Taylor Stores (ANN), Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY) and Brinker Int’l (EAT) all paid their directors substantially less — from $30K at BBY to $50K at Brinker.

Clearly, this is one part-time job that many people would line up for.