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California and the West

KB Home CEO earns $5.9 million

February 22, 2007|Annette Haddad | Times Staff Writer

KB Home's chief executive earned $5.9 million in total compensation and stock awards last year, less than half of what he earned the previous year and a fraction of the pay raked in by his predecessor, according to a company filing Wednesday.

For the fiscal year that ended Nov. 30, Jeffrey Mezger received a $568,750 salary, a $2.5-million bonus and $80,357 for expenses, and he is in line to receive a restricted stock award valued at $2 million, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He also received about $760,000 in long-term incentive pay.

That stood in stark contrast to the compensation of former CEO Bruce Karatz, who during his last full year as KB's leader in 2005 earned more than $155 million, much of which came from exercised stock options and a percentage of company profit.

Karatz left Westwood-based KB Home last fall after an internal review found he was involved in so-called backdating of stock options. He agreed to pay the company $13 million. The SEC is investigating KB's stock option practices.

That's one reason Mezger earned so much less in 2006. The company is still reviewing how it will award stock options in the future.

Mezger will earn a $1-million base salary starting this fiscal year, KB has said. In fiscal 2005, Mezger, then chief operating officer, earned $12.7 million in cash and stock-based pay.

Meanwhile, a court order stemming from a pending shareholder suit is preventing Karatz from cashing in stock options he earned in 2006. Karatz and his former board are negotiating the terms of his departure.

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annette.haddad@latimes.com

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