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No Option

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal‘s front page headline article reported that executives and their companies are under scrutiny for “unusual” option awards during merger negotiations. With the rebound of the markets, and the return of M&A activity, executives are benefiting from newly issued options and restricted stock awards. Of course, one has to be loco if they play games in the face of a merger, IPO, or other activity in the public markets. However, that aside, there has been plenty written about excessive pay to executives, but little noted about how seriously many have seen their restricted stock, options, fund participation and other long term incentive compensation evaporate over the past 18 months. The good news is that many smart companies have recognized the need to keep key professionals on the bench, and have issued new long term incentive awards. Employers should take note, because as the recovery builds steam, without some offensive moves on the compensation front, there will be little to keep an executive tied to the company.

Tony LoPinto is CEO of Equinox Partners, an executive search firm specializing in the real estate industry, and parent company of SelectLeaders. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
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