Toasting the two-paycheck executive at NACCO Industries …

March 30, 2010

Many an American works two jobs to make ends meet, and plenty of U.S. households bring in two incomes from the same employer. But we suspect it’s rare to find one man working two jobs for the same company — and taking home two paychecks in the process.

Meet that man: Dr. Michael J. Morecroft, who was president and chief executive officer of the Hamilton Beach Brands unit of NACCO Industries (NC) until his retirement on Dec. 31. Over the last two years, according to the proxy NACCO filed on March 26, Morecroft took home $1.16 million from his day job overseeing the manufacturing and marketing of dorm-room pizza-toasters and travel-cup blenders — as well as another $1.55 million in consulting fees, also from NACCO.

Now, we love kitchen gadgets, and have owned a Hamilton Beach gizmo or two over time. Plus, Hamilton Beach’s results were “exceptional” in an otherwise bleak year for NACCO — a truly diversified holding company if we ever saw one: Its other units include lift trucks (sales plunged by nearly half) and coal mining and marketing (improved results).

So the performance of Morecroft’s unit would seem to call for a nice bonus. And yet, the company informs us that it “suspended the incentive compensation plans at HBB for 2009 for all employees, including Dr. Morecroft, and reduced the award opportunity for employees of the Company under its short-term plan.” Understandably, a bonus might not be too seemly.

In any case, Morecroft’s duties went well beyond steam irons and air fresheners disguised as plants, as the proxy notes:

“in addition to continuing his employment duties with HBB, Dr. Morecroft served as a consultant in 2008 and 2009 on management, financial and other matters relating to the Company as a whole and particularly with respect to potential synergies from more closely associating KC and HBB”

KC in this case is shorthand for The Kitchen Collection, a kitchenware and gourmet food retailer NACCO also owns. You could imagine that two kitchen-goods companies under one ownership would be part of Morecroft’s day job, but among his other consulting duties, he “had substantial input on financial matters and long-term planning for the Company on a consolidated basis” and “devoted extraordinary effort and leadership skills to his role as a consultant,” the proxy tells us. Moreover, he agreed to sign non-competition and non-interference agreements, and

“the financial results of the 2009 cost-reduction programs that Dr. Morecroft assisted designing and implementing are vital to the long-term interest of the Company and the subsidiaries—”

Now that he’s retired, presumably both Hamilton Beach and NACCO will manage. Morecroft will: He socked away some $5 million in deferred compensation and earnings during his years on the jobs.

That buys a lot of smudge-proof digital toasters — a hundred thousand of them, in fact.

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