WestPoint, Glenoit pace industry

Executive pay results revealed

Don Hogsett, January 29, 2001

NEW YORK -If you're a chief executive looking for work in the home textiles business, you might want to pop a resume in the mail to WestPoint Stevens or Glenoit-they pay real well.

In fact, four of the five highest paid executives at public home textiles companies during 1999 worked for those two firms, according to the second annual edition of the Home Textiles Today Executive Compensation.

And if retailing is your long suit, you might want to try rocket-hot Kohl's-its two top executives pulled down a combined total of $59.5 million in cash and stock stocks in 1999.

By comparison, the co-founders of Bed, Bath & Beyond, Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein, look underpaid, taking out just $750,000 each in salary, no bonus, no stock options. In fact, their employee, Steven Temares, president, made more than they did that year, pulling down $2.4 million in cash and stock options. But before you fret too much, consider that Eisenberg and Feinstein still own much of the company's richly valued stock.

Among textiles suppliers, WestPoint Stevens, for the second year in a row, tops the highest-paid list, with Tom Ward, former president and chief operating officer, taking down $2.0 million. And not far behind was his boss, chairman and ceo Holcombe T. Green Jr., with his $1.6 million. And even that's a big comedown for Green, representing a 59 percent pay cut.

Green's big hit stems from the fact that in 1998, he took out $2.3 million in stock options, but in 1999, with WestPoint's stock price tumbling to new lows, all his options were "underwater"-it would cost him more to exercise the options than the stock was worth.

On the bright side for Green, all his $1.6 million in compensation came in cash. And that makes him a lot better off than most of the people who work for him. According to the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, the average annual earnings for a textile worker in 1999 totaled $22,818. That means Green made about 69 times as much as his average worker.

Elsewhere on the supply side, Glenoit ranked high with Samuel Samelson, Ex-Cell chief, making $1.8 million, most of that in the form of a non-recurring bonus of $1.3 million earned for the company's strong profit performance after its acquisition by Glenoit. Samelson's boss, Tom O'Gorman, made do with $1.2 million.

Reaping the rewards of Kohl's phenomenal success, the rocket-hot retailer's two top officer needed a dump truck to take it all to the bank. Chairman William Kellogg took home $38.7 million, mostly in stock options, and former president Jay H. Baker, netted $20.9 million, mostly in stock. Nice work, if you can get it, considering that the average earnings for a retail sales person in 1999 were $19,210. That means that Kellogg made as much as 2,012 of his salespeople put together.

Worthy of more than a footnote, this year's ranking of highly paid textiles executives includes one of those unsung workers most responsible for any home fashions company's success, a designer. Beatrice M. Spires, vp of styling and design at Quaker Fabric, earned $228,000 in 1999, making her the second highest paid worker at Quaker, behind president Larry Liebenow, who made $600,000.

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