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Robert Trigaux

At 3 annual meetings in Tampa: A big pay day, a pending merger and a stand on gender



Wake up and good morning. We're neck deep in annual shareholder meetings and proxy statements, which means it is that rare season when investors and the merely curious can gain a brief insight into the corporate culture of many public corporations and the compensation of their highest paid chieftains. Here's a Tampa Bay sampler:

Chucksykessykesenterprises * At Tampa's Sykes Enterprises, the global call center business, CEO Chuck Sykes (see photo) total compensation soared in 2009 to $2.7 million from just under $2 million in 2008. That's a 35 percent bump in a nasty recession year, though this company seemed to fare better than most. Chuck Sykes owns 214, 445 shares of the company he runs. His father, company founder John Sykes (who's busy starting a new financial business called JHS Capital Advisors), still owns 5,276,717 shares or 12.76 percent of the corporation. Sykes Enterprises holds its annual meeting in Tampa on May 10. Click on Sykes' proxy filing (DEF 14A) here.

Keitholsenceoswitchanddata * At Tampa's Switch & Data Facilities Co., an announced acquisition of the company by a rival company called Equinix has yet to be finalized. Switch & Data operates thousands of computer servers and lots of other equipment that companies use to store data and connect to the Internet. CEO Keith Olsen (see photo) received compensation of just over $1.3 million last year, down slightly from almost $1.5 million in 2008 and down quite a bit from nearly $2.6 million in 2007. Buyer Equinix, based in California, is spending $689 million to buy its Tampa rival in a deal being reviewed by federal antitrust regulators. Switch & Data holds its annual meeting in Tampa on May 19. Click on Switch & Data's proxy filing (DEF 14A) here.

Sherrillhudsonceotecoenergydanielwallace08 * At Tampa's TECO Energy, CEO Sherrill Hudson pulled in total compensation of just under $3 million in 2009, compared to $3.4 million in 2008 and $3.5 million in 2007. Hudson does not live in the Tampa Bay area but commutes from Miami. TECO, the parent of Tampa Electric, gives Hudson a housing and travel allowance of $5,000 per month. TECO's board also decided to let Hudson use the corporation's aircraft for commuting purposes. In 2009, the incremental cost to the company for such use was $47,610. However, TECO sold its corporate aircraft in late 2009. (Hudson photo by Daniel Wallace of the St. Petersburg Times.)

There's one unusual shareholder resolution from the City of New York, representing New York's retirement system, that seeks to have TECO explicitly adopt a nondiscrimination policy based on sexual orientation and gender. The TECO board opposes the resolution, which shareholders will vote on. TECO holds its annual meeting in Tampa on May 5. Click on TECO's proxy filing (DEF 14A) here.

We'll explore more area companies, their compensation and shareholder issues in the coming days.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:27am]


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