New Navarre CEO's salary: $450,000, plus extras

  • Article by: PATRICK KENNEDY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 19, 2011 - 9:35 PM

New Navarre CEO Richard Willis will get an annual salary of $450,000 and 700,000 shares of stock options and restricted stock awards, according to his employment agreement disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

Willis was named as president and CEO last week. In February he was one of two directors appointed to the Navarre board at the urging of its largest shareholder, Dallas-based Becker Drapkin Management. Willis will remain a director of Navarre, a distribution and logistics company based in New Hope.

Willis has 20 years of management experience in retail, distribution and publishing and most recently served as executive chairman of Charlotte Russe, a mall-based specialty retailer. From 2003 to 2007, he was president and CEO of Baker & Taylor Corp., a distributor of books, DVDs and music.

The annual salary for Willis is on a par with that of former Navarre CEO Cary Deacon, whose last salary was $489,250. Willis also will be eligible for an annual bonus of up to 80 percent of his base salary, get four weeks of vacation and will be reimbursed $5,000 for attorney's fees associated with his hiring.

Willis also will be reimbursed for "reasonable personal expenses" incurred for travel between Texas and Minnesota. He will not be required to relocate to Minnesota.

Navarre provides distribution and logistics solutions for traditional and Internet retailers and publishes computer software through its Encore subsidiary. The company had $491 million in revenue for the year ended March 31, their third year of declining annual sales.

Becker Drapkin Management is an activist investor based in Dallas. After it gained the Navarre board seats in February, Deacon was dismissed as CEO in April.

In June Navarre Chairman Eric Paulson, who founded the company and served as CEO until 2007, announced his retirement.

Becker Drapkin has pushed for board seats and/or management changes at other companies it has made investments in, including restaurant company Ruby Tuesday and mall-based retailer Hot Topic Inc.

Patrick Kennedy • 612-673-7926

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