Improved operating results at The Jones Group Inc. translated into a 70.6 percent increase in chief executive officer Wesley Card’s pay, but Card voluntarily relinquished $400,000 of his $2.4 million in bonus money based on second-half “operational issues” at the firm.


Card’s total compensation last year came to $9.4 million, up from $5.5 million in 2009, a year marked by declining revenues and both operating and net losses. His salary was unchanged at $1.6 million, but his stock awards nearly quadrupled to $5.2 million from $1.3 million. While his cash bonus — nonequity incentive plan compensation — was unchanged at $2.4 million for reporting purposes in both years, he elected to not accept $400,000 of the 2010 bonus based on unspecified “operational issues.”


Presumably, these “issues” centered on a “retail environment [which] was more promotional than anticipated, particularly in footwear,” as Card said when the company reported preliminary fourth-quarter results in January, lowering quarterly earnings below analysts’ expectations and gross margins below year-ago levels.


Richard Dickson, who joined Jones in February 2010 as president of the company and ceo of its branded businesses, earned a total of $6.3 million in his first year, including $908,000 in pro-rated salary and a $455,000 sign-on bonus. His total compensation also included $3.3 million in stock awards and $1.4 million in nonequity incentive plan compensation. Jones hasn’t granted option awards for performance over the last three years, according to the definitive proxy filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


His salary, initially $1 million, was raised to $1.1 million, effective in 2011.


Even with the fourth-quarter disappointment last year, Jones finished 2010 with a 9.5 percent increase in revenues, to $3.64 billion from $3.33 billion in 2009, while it reversed a $86.6 billion loss with a $53.8 million net profit. Gross margin grew to 34.5 percent of sales from 34.4 percent in 2009.


Because of vesting schedules and fluctuating stock prices, stock and option awards aren’t necessarily realized by the executive officers of public companies, but the SEC requires they be reported at “fair market value” for the years in which they’re earned.


Jones is scheduled to report first-quarter results on Wednesday morning. Its annual shareholders meeting is slated for May 19 in New York.

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