Sunpower offers housing assistance to new CFO…

October 21, 2008

It’s no secret that San Diego is awash in foreclosures. Indeed, Realty Trac lists 18,885 bank-owned homes in the county and another 12,041 in pre-foreclosure. Given that kind of distressed supply, prices have fallen dramatically — about 30 percent, according to this report.

So perhaps it’s not all that surprising that when Sunpower (SPWRA) announced yesterday that it had hired Dennis V. Arriola as its new CFO, the 8K that followed the press release included “up to $500,000 of compensation for loss on the sale of his home”. Arriola, had been CFO of San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas, the regulated units of Sempra Energy (SRE) and judging by the filing, will be moving to the San Jose area, where Sunpower is based.

Though the contract wasn’t included in the filing, the 8K includes a description of a few other goodies, including a $300K signing bonus, 50,000 options and another 50,000 RSUs, temporary housing for a year, and $100K in relocation expenses. Keep in mind that Sunpower’s stock is down nearly 60% year-to-date.

But as I first reported two years ago, it’s the housing guarantee that sticks out here. That’s because there’s something incredibly ironic about protecting corporate executives — the very people who should embrace capitalism — from market forces.

Image source: Associated Press/Kevork Djansezian

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