Spansion’s retention raise didn’t keep its CFO

spansion-logoSpansion, the Sunnyvale flash memory maker that gave its executives a retention-based pay raise in February the same day it fired 3,000 workers, said this week that one of those raises doesn’t seem to have had the desired effect.

The company revealed in a regulatory filing Thursday that one of the recipients of those executive retention pay raises quit a week ago. Dario Sacomani (pictured), the company’s now former chief financial officer, resigned April 10, when he and Spansion entered into a “Personal Leave Agreement” under which he will continue to be paid his regular salary — which was raised 8 percent to $405,000 in 2007 — for up to nine months, while he remains as a “part-time” employee, with health benefits intact. Sacomani has also “agreed to provide transition services during his leave.”

dario_sacomani1It turns out Sacomani also ended his previous job as CFO of Richardson Electronics by taking a “leave of absence” in April 2005, just a month shy of his three-year anniversary with the Illinois electronic components distributor. He and the company reached an agreement in July of that year terminating his employment as an executive officer, but allowing him to remain a regular employee through the end of the year, all the while drawing his same executive-sized salary, according to the company’s proxy.

Based on the terms of his employment agreement with Spansion, Sacomani was owed nothing if he voluntarily quit. If he were terminated involuntarily in the case of a reduction in force, he was owed severance equal to 10 weeks of pay and a pro-rated amount of any bonus payment. That amounted to $138,000 at the end of 2007, according to the company’s last proxy. Instead, he will receive more than twice that amount.

Spansion agreed to pay Sacomani’s relocation expenses when he was hired in 2006, which ended up costing the company $163,000. As part of his termination agreement, Sacomani has been promised $7,500 more in such payments to help him leave.

Sacomani appears to be a bargain compared with what the company is paying to fill his shoes. Spansion named as its interim chief financial officer Thora Thoroddsen, a senior vice president with Brincko Associates.
Her $60,000-a-month salary will be paid out of a $155,000 monthly retainer being paid to Brincko, a crisis management consulting firm Spansion hired Feb. 26, two days before it filed for bankruptcy protection.


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