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What wrong with this picture?

Carole Sloan, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, October 20, 2003

In this week's Home Textiles Today, the annual and exclusive executive compensation report details how much the top players at retail and among vendors made in 2002. Looking over the list, what struck me was not so much a matter of what they were worth in terms of their companies' performances but just their own, singular compensation packages.

And we had some doozies, especially on the vendor side.

Just take a look at the Top 20 vendors in terms of compensation.

Of the group, ten of the players are with companies either out of business or operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection — namely Pillowtex, Cone Mills and WestPoint Stevens.

'Nuff said.

Even more interesting is that of the balance of the Top 20 among vendors, four represent Quaker Fabric.

And here's where the breakout is even more interesting.

The top player in terms of compensation is not the boss, Larry Liebenow. It's Bea Spires, the vp of design and merchandising. What signal does that send about where the company's priorities lie?

How many other companies reward their top design honcho with the really big bucks — even to the point of outdoing the boss? (Now let's all understand this: It's not necessary to take up a collection for Liebenow.)

But he's to be commended for recognizing what drives his company's business.

And there's another Quaker exec on the list, Mark Hellwig, with a job held by few in the home textiles world: vp, supply chain management. When Liebenow created this job in his company a few years back, there were many among his competitors who snorted. And some asked, What does a person do vís-a-vís supply chain management, much less a person who is compensated enough to make the Top 20?

With the dramatic change in today's global textile marketplace, supply chain management ranks up there on a par with design and merchandising. Yes, the boss and top dog in sales warrant the big bucks, as we see throughout the list. But in today's marketplace there are other key functions that merit the big bucks.

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