Something to smile about…

images1.jpegPersonally, my preference in toothpastes runs to Trader Joe’s — it’s like Tom’s, which is now owned by Colgate, but tastes like licorice. Still, the 8K filed yesterday by toothpaste king Colgate Palmolive (CL) certainly seems worth smiling about.

That’s because the board, which met yesterday to renew the company’s executive severance plan for another three years, also made some welcome changes to the plan. Severance payments were reduced from a maximum of 36 months down to 24 months and the gross-up — which regulars know is a sign of pure greed — was eliminated. At the same meeting, the board changed the bylaws and adopted a provision that allows shareholders to call a special meeting.

Now compare that with the 8K filed by Rupert Murdoch’s latest target, Dow Jones (DJ). As the WSJ reported this morning, the company has implemented change-in-control provisions for more than 100 top managers and expanded gross-up provisions to 9 of the most senior executives. As the Journal notes in its story, quoting compensation expert Russell Miller, tax gross-ups are “no longer considered a best practice.”

Colgate Palmolive seems to get that. How long will it take others to catch on?