Staying the course at General Growth Properties …

September 13, 2010

Pheonix Village MallIt made news last week when General Growth Properties (GGP) — the once-beleaguered mall operator that now seems headed for a smooth exit from bankruptcy-court protection — announced two top officers would be staying on for another year. With a new board coming in once the reorganization is complete, most figured, the old execs would be shown the door.

As it turns out, the titles for Chief Executive Adam S. Metz and Chief Operating Officer Thomas H. Nolan aren’t the only things staying the same: So is their pay, for the most part, though neither executive will be working for peanuts.

While the personnel announcement came out Tuesday, General Growth filed the terms of employment for the two men with an 8-K filed at 5:22 p.m. on Friday, attracting little or no attention. (For background on the company’s announcement and pending emergence from bankruptcy — in which it looks like shareholders won’t be wiped out as was originally feared — check out Kris Hudson’s Thursday piece at WSJ.com.)

Metz’s salary remains at $1.5 million, and his target bonus is $3 million, as before made up of a $2 million “fixed bonus” and a $1 million discretionary portion, according to the employment agreement filed with the 8-K. He also gets 125,000 shares of restricted stock vesting over a year.

Nolan’s pay remains $1.25 million in salary and up to $2.4 million in bonus, also split between discretionary and fixed portions, and 100,000 restricted shares vesting over a year, according to his employment agreement.

Granted, no change in pay isn’t generally big news. But companies all too often find reasons to boost pay to keep their existing executives, and then write more big checks when they want them to leave. Given the apparent uncertainty over their fates leading up to the announcement, it’s refreshing to see someone holding the line.

That said, we’ll see what happens with severance and retirement benefits if and when the two men finally do walk out the door.

Image source: Clinton Steeds via Flickr

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