Saks Inc.’s top executives saw their compensation decline last year as a result of the tough economy.

This story first appeared in the April 27, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Stephen I. Sadove’s compensation as chief executive officer fell 46.8 percent after his incentive pay was cut by nearly $2 million. His total pay dropped to $3.1 million, according to the definitive proxy filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and his incentive pay fell to $298,125, from $2.3 million in 2007.

The ceo’s take last year also included a salary of $1.1 million, stock and option awards valued at $1.6 million, $58,941 in company-paid personal air travel and $17,895 for a car and driver. Stock and option awards are reported based on SEC accounting guidelines. The compensation recorded in these categories was not necessarily realized because of vesting schedules and falling stock prices.

President and chief merchandising officer Ronald Frasch saw his take fall 22.7 percent last year to $3 million. That included a salary of $1.1 million and stock and option awards of $1.7 million. He’s in line for cash awards of $3 million if he stays with the firm until 2014.

Chief financial officer Kevin Willis experienced a 70.7 percent reduction in pay, with total compensation of $1.2 million, including $611,250 in salary and $407,324 in stock and option awards. He received no bonus last year after taking home a bonus of $2.1 million in 2007.

Shares of Saks closed at $4.98 Friday, up 15.8 percent for the day, but down 65.8 percent from their 52-week high. However, the shares have more than tripled in value since hitting a 52-week low of $1.50 on March 10.

At Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., chairman and ceo Sally Frame Kasaks received a 31.8 percent boost in total compensation, to $4.2 million, thanks to a $1.4 million pension benefit related to her previous employment at AnnTaylor Stores Corp.

In connection with her prior service as chairman and ceo of Ann Taylor from 1992 to 1996, Kasaks, 64, is entitled to receive from PacSun a supplemental retirement benefit of $149,722, payable each year for the remainder of her life, according to PacSun’s definitive proxy.

An Ann Taylor spokeswoman said the retailer entered into a settlement agreement with Kasaks in December that released both parties from the continuing provisions of her 1994 employment agreement. PacSun, which will assume the majority of the pension obligations previously held by Ann Taylor, said it was able to settle the dispute without going to court.

PacSun agreed to pay Kasaks, who became its ceo in May 2007, $10,280 in March 2013 and, beginning the following month, make a monthly payment of $12,477 for the rest of her life, with survivor benefits to her spouse in the event of her demise.

As a result, Kasaks’ reported compensation for 2008 jumped to $4.2 million, from $3.2 million last year. The ceo’s salary rose 5.5 percent to $1.3 million, from $1.2 million in 2007, while her stock and option awards grew 38.4 percent to $1.5 million. Kasaks received $32,453 in all other compensation, up from $13,154 a year earlier. After a recent review by PacSun’s compensation committee, the company said with Kasaks’ consent, it reduced the ceo’s base salary to $1.1 million, effective April 1.

At Talbots Inc., president and ceo Trudy F. Sullivan saw her total compensation fall 18.1 percent last year, to $5.7 million, from $6.9 million in 2007, according to an SEC filing. Nonetheless, the ceo’s salary was bumped up $500,000 to $1 million, and her stock and option awards increased to $4.1 million, versus $1.9 million, a year earlier. Sullivan, who did not earn a bonus last year, received $314,614 in other compensation, a 91 percent drop from the $3.5 million she collected in 2007.

Hot Topic Inc. ceo and director Elizabeth McLaughlin earned an 87.7 percent jump in total compensation for the year, to $2.5 million, up from $1.3 million in 2007. While the ceo’s base salary remained unchanged at $700,000, she received a $363,000 bonus for the year. McLaughlin’s stock and option awards increased 25.8 percent to $815,589, and her nonequity incentive plan was valued at $637,000. The ceo’s other compensation totaled $14,940, of which she spent $6,003 on her car allowance.



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