The Wall Street Journal reported that newly appointed CEO Hubert Joly has been enticed to come aboard Best Buy with a compensation package worth $32 million over a three-year time frame.
This pay package belies how poorly the company is doing financially. It's doubtful it's as much about saving Best Buy as it is about saving Joly the money he would have made at his previous gig at Carlson. Joly's annual base salary is $1.175 million, but he's guaranteed a long-term cash award of at least $8.75 million for the 2014 fiscal year that starts next March.
In an even stranger twist on the types of goodies included in traditional compensation packages, should the French citizen end up unable to obtain a work visa and it causes the arrangement to be void, Joly is guaranteed more than $6.25 million for his trouble.
Should all go according to plan and Joly takes the helm, his pay package includes $20 million in signing awards, with only $3.25 million tied to actual performance.
Joly may have some expertise at turning around troubled companies, but he has no retail experience. Will the kind of vision interim CEO Mike Mikan described as necessary in May really be forthcoming?
Meanwhile, Best Buy should already be in hot water with its shareholders. When former CEO Brian Dunn resigned amid scandal about his conduct, he received a $4 million severance package. Even Dunn's predecessor, Brad Anderson, questioned Dunn's receipt of the package under the circumstances.
Such outcomes sound an awful lot like the board moves at Hewlett-Packard
More shareholders had better wonder exactly where the return on investment is for such uses of millions in corporate funds.
A race to the bottom
Best Buy has very real competitive problems, not least of which is Amazon.com
In a final irony, Joly's appointment shows Best Buy's rejection of founder Richard Schulze's attempts to take the company private. When I think of successful turnarounds, I think of founder-led turnarounds like the ones that transpired at Starbucks
Best Buy doesn't seem to be reversing course right now, but is in fact speeding to the bottom. Shareholders should be outraged.
Are you far more attracted to Best Buy rival Amazon? Check out our premium report on Amazon.com, which examines the risks and opportunities facing the e-commerce giant. Click here to find out more. You'll find a similar report on Apple here.
Alyce Lomax owns shares of Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Starbucks, and Best Buy. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Starbucks, and Amazon.com, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Apple and writing covered calls on Starbucks. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.