Maui Land & Pineapple CEO David Cole has been getting a lot of ink in this space of late. For those who haven’t been paying attention: A few days after ML&P axed 274 workers, it came to light that Cole had been given a $4.1 million “compensation package,” representing more than half of the company’s 2007 profit.
As soon as the second part of the story broke, we tried to contact Cole for comment. He was “unavailable” and so we got spokeswoman Teri Freitas Gorman instead. Asked about her boss’s big payday, Gorman said it’s important to note the money wasn’t handed out in one lump sum but was the result of various bonuses and incentives that had been promised to Cole when he took the job. According to information provided by Gorman, the $4.1 mil broke down like this:
Performance incentives (stock awards) $1,428,577
Stock option awards (retention tool) $1,024,604
Change in pension value $61,950
All other compensation $1,069, 582
TOTAL $4,134, 713
That ambiguously labeled “all other compensation” is essentially a make good on the loss in stock value that occurred between August 2003 when Cole signed on and October 2003 when his employment officially began.
OK, fine, so nobody wrote Cole a big novelty check for $4.1 million as he cackled maniacally and rubbed his hands together. Corporate dealings are never that simple and straightforward (except when they are). But still—the guy was given, through a combination of stock options and cash, enough money to feed several families for several years. Then, a few months later, his company made it a whole lot more difficult for 274 people to feed their families. Period, end of discussion.
Except we really hope it’s not the end of the discussion. Much as we appreciate Ms. Gorman taking the time the talk with us, what we really want is a few minutes of Mr. Cole’s time. The message for him, if he’s reading, is that we’re going to keep writing about him whether he speaks with us or not. He can only help his cause by giving us something to write about other than the layoffs and that big, fat bonus.
Ball’s in your court, David.
Kaheawa Wind Power, the company that runs the West Maui windmills, was given an “innovation award” by Gov. Lingle this week. According to figures reported in Pacific Business News, the wind farm generated roughly the same amount of energy as 236,000 barrels of oil in 2007, creating enough juice to supply 9 percent of Maui’s power during peak hours and around 30 percent during non-peak hours. Whatever aesthetic and wildlife endangerment complaints may have been lodged against the windmills, this is alternative power in action. As oil prices climb and Middle Eastern wars rage on, it’s tough to argue with that.
A couple weeks ago we told you about Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO Rex Johnson, who got himself in some hot water for sending adult material over the company e-mail. Looks like he’s off the hook, mostly. After a marathon seven-hour review session that may or may not have involved poring over the naughty e-mails in question, HTA’s board decided to keep Johnson, who’s been at the helm since 2002, though they did slash his annual salary from $240K to $200K, as reported in PBN. Not that Rex is gonna starve or anything, but man—those were some damn expensive e-mails. MTW