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See no evil, hear no evil…

High-end retailer Nordstrom (JWN) is getting markup fever. In yesterday’s 8-K filing, Nordstrom announced a boost to the non-employee director compensation, which included a 67% increase in the dollar value of the annual stock award. The more important issue, though, is the annual $200,000 stock award that the Lead Director, Enrique Hernandez, Jr., receives on top of all the other retainer fees he’s getting from Nordstrom. Why is that so troubling? Hernandez is considered an “independent” director — he’s the Company’s audit committee chairman and the audit committee financial expert. That spoonful of stock sweetener certainly doesn’t give Hernandez any incentive to raise questions about the Company’s accounting practices. Given Nordstrom’s nepotistic management team, a tough audit committee is all the more important.