Five Empire District Electric Company officials saw their pay packages increase more than $400,000 during calendar year 2007, despite the onslaught of two ice storms, according to a proxy statement filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
And should the day ever come when CEO William Gipson's services are no longer required by Empire, he will walk away with more than $2.3 million.
Gipson's base salary only increased from $300,000 to $315,000, but his pay package included a $5,000 bonus, $239,075 in stock awards, $65,647 in stock options, $155,626 in non-equity incentive plan compensation, $135,662 in deferred compensation earnings, and $9,896 listed as "all other compensation."
The total package amounted to $925,206, up from $759,906 in 2006.
If things ever go south for Gipson and he happens to lose his job at Empire, don't worry about where he will get his next meal. His severance plan, which is also included in the proxy statement, is worth more than $2.3 million, including $1,221,504 in severance pay, $155,926 in "incentive bonus) (though how can you give an incentive for someone who no longer works for you is a difficult concept to grasp), $12,548 in stock options, $177,408 in divident equivalents, $252,068 in performance-based restricted stock, $31,356 in "benefits continuance," $504,233 in "excise tax and related gross-up."
The total amount of Gipson's severance package is $2,354,743.
Gipson's top officers also have generous pay and severance packages, according to the proxy report.