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Mattel CEO Earned $12.5 Million in 2000

April 10, 2001|From Reuters

Robert Eckert, the former Kraft Foods chief executive hired to turn around Mattel Inc., earned more than $12 million in salary and other compensation during his first seven months on the job, according to public documents filed Monday.

The amount does not include a loan for $5.5 million that Eckert received from Mattel--an amount that will be forgiven if he remains at the company through May 2004.

Eckert, who became Mattel's chief executive in May 2000 after the February resignation of former CEO Jill Barad, earned about $789,000 in salary and $4 million in bonuses last year, according to Mattel's proxy filed with the Security and Exchange Commission. He also received restricted stock awards valued at $7.7 million, according to the filing. The proxy stated that Eckert is the company's second-biggest shareholder among its officers and board members, with 1.84 million shares.

The largest shareholder was Barad, who still owned about 6.86 million shares as of March 31, according to the proxy.

Barad, who resigned last year under pressure, was blamed for Mattel's disastrous purchase of Learning Co., an educational software maker, in 1999, for $3.5 billion. Mattel ended up virtually giving away the money-losing unit last year after it dragged the company's stock down to five-year lows.

Bruce Raabe, an analyst at Collins & Co., said it is unusual but not unheard of for a former CEO who was forced to resign to keep such a large holding in her former employer.

"I wouldn't expect her to be a shareholder forever," Raabe said. "But she probably thinks the shares are undervalued."

He also said the high pay package for Eckert is not unusual in a mature sector such as the toy industry where it is more difficult to increase revenue and earnings.

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