Home Depot Inc. Chief Executive Officer Robert Nardelli was today fired from the world's largest home- improvement retailer, with a $210 million golden boot package, including a $20 million severance payment. Vice Chairman Frank Blake, who worked with Nardelli at General Electric Co., will replace him.
| Robert Nardelli |
Home Depot is due to achieve its smallest annual net income gain in at least nine years as a slowing housing market impacts home-improvement spending. Nardelli, who often came across as arrogant, is reported to have angered some investors with the size of his pay package and the company's performance in his six years at the helm.
The Home Depot's Board said, "We are very grateful to Bob for his strong leadership of The Home Depot over the past six years. Under Bob's tenure, the Company made significant and necessary investments that greatly improved the Company's infrastructure and operations, expanded our markets to include wholesale distribution and new geographies, and undertook key strategic initiatives to strengthen the company's foundation for the future. The Home Depot has delivered strong and consistent growth and gained market share under Bob's leadership, and we believe that the Company is well positioned to continue to do so. We thank Bob for his contributions, hard work and dedication and wish him all the best in his future endeavors."
Frank Blake was elected chairman and CEO of The Home Depot and a full voting member of the Board of Directors.
"The entire Board is pleased to name Frank as The Home Depot's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. We are fortunate to have someone of Frank's caliber within our organization and believe he is the ideal candidate to succeed Bob," continued the Board of Directors. "While industry conditions remain challenging, we are confident that Frank will effectively execute on the Company's strategy, build upon our legacy of growth, innovation and superior customer service, and deliver value for our shareholders."
Since joining Home Depot in 2002, Blake has served as vice chairman of the Board of Directors and executive vice president. His responsibilities have included strategic business development, growth initiatives, real estate, store construction, credit services, and the Home Services business. Prior to joining The Home Depot, Blake served as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Prior to that, he served in a variety of executive roles at General Electric, including senior vice president, Corporate Business Development.
"I am honored to lead this exceptional company and build on Bob's significant achievements. The Home Depot has a strong core business and exciting opportunities in its adjacent businesses. I believe that the Company continues to have tremendous potential for growth and that we have an exciting future ahead of us," said Frank Blake.
"The Board and I are committed to continuing on our current strategic path and remain focused on enhancing performance and delivering value for customers, shareholders and associates."
"I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished at The Home Depot since 2000 and I believe that I leave a stronger and more resilient company than when I arrived, and one that is well positioned to capitalize on the substantial opportunities ahead of it," said Nardelli. "I've worked closely with Frank, Joe and Carol and have the utmost confidence in their abilities. I have also been lucky to work with a very talented and dedicated management team, which will support Frank, Carol and Joe in the next phase of The Home Depot's strategy. I wish The Home Depot and all of its associates continued success in the future."
Nardelli and the Company have agreed in principle to the terms of a separation agreement which would provide for payment of the amounts he is entitled to receive under his pre-existing employment contract entered into in 2000. Under this agreement, Nardelli will receive consideration currently valued at approximately $210 million (including amounts which have previously been earned or vested). This consideration will include a cash severance payment of $20 million, the acceleration of unvested deferred stock awards currently valued at approximately $77 million and unvested options with an intrinsic value of approximately $7 million, the payment of earned bonuses and long-term incentive awards of approximately $9 million, the payment of account balances under the Company's 401(k) plan and other benefit programs currently valued at approximately $2 million, the payment of previously earned and vested deferred shares with an approximate value of $44 million, the payment of the present value of retirement benefits currently valued at approximately $32 million and the payment of $18 million for other entitlements under his contract which will be paid over a four year period and will be forfeited if he does not honor his contractual obligations.
Nardelli has also agreed not to compete with the Company for one year, not to solicit employees or customers of the Company for four years and other restrictive covenants.