HawTel chiefs ring up big pay
Hawaiian Telcom's new upper management team comes with a price tag more than six times that of former CEO Michael Ruley, who was abruptly fired Monday in favor of a turnaround expert brought in by Washington, D.C.-based owner Carlyle Group.
The hiring of Stephen Cooper, chairman of Kroll Zolfo Cooper, a New York restructuring advisory and interim management company, as well as Kevin Nystrom, a senior director at the firm, as the company's chief operating officer, will cost Hawaiian Telcom a base fee of $600,000 a month -- plus bonuses based on improvements in the company's earnings. The chief operating officer position was created for Nystrom.
Ruley's compensation totaled $1.14 million in 2006, according to the company's latest annual filing.
The new executives' base pay, which amounts to $7.2 million a year, is what the company "feels is appropriate based on the experience that both Cooper and Nystrom have had over the years," spokesman Joel Matsunaga said.
Cooper, who replaced Kenneth Lay in 2002 as interim head of since-dissolved Enron Corp., has led a number of restructuring projects, including the bankruptcy of American Home Mortgage last year. Nystrom has served as director of restructuring of American Home Mortgage since August.
The fee, disclosed yesterday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, also covers any additional associate directors the new team might hire. Matsunaga declined to say how many that would be.