continued In June, Home Depot made headlines for slighting stockholders at its annual meeting. The shareholders had complained that chief executive Robert Nardelli had picked up $123.7 million in pay over five years while the company's stock had gone down 9 percent. The stock of its major competitor, Lowe's, had soared 185 percent over the period. Stockholders came to the meeting loaded for bear, but Nardelli was the sole board member there. He stayed around only 30 minutes and cursorily fielded a few questions. Employees said he runs the company the same way he ran the meeting. "Arrogance will kill this company," complained one shareholder.
Allegedly, the director who decided that most of the board would boycott the meeting was cofounder Kenneth Langone. He has played a key role in the controversy over Dick Grasso's pay as chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. Grasso, who was making $12 million a year, wanted to cash in $140 million of pension savings even while he kept working. Many on the exchange board were appalled -- at the $140 million, as well as at Grasso's desire to grab it before he retired. Not Langone, who as chairman of the compensation committee rooted for Grasso, whom he had put on the Home Depot board. Grasso was worth that kind of money, said Langone. He belonged in the Hall of Fame "with Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle," he said.
Yes, in the Greed Hall of Fame, with countless other executives. Some have nowhere else to go: top executives of Camarillo's Vitesse Semiconductor, Mountain View's Mercury Interactive, and New York's Comverse Technology are out of jobs as a result of probes into options backdating.