Coal Tattoo


Massey CEO Don Blankenship was escorted from the Aracoma Alma No. 1 Mine by West Virginia State Police after the January 2006 fire that killed two workers. AP photo.

This just in from The Associated Press:

The chairman and chief executive of coal miner Massey Energy Co. received compensation valued at $19.7 million in 2008, a 17 percent decrease from the previous year, according to an Associated Press analysis of data filed with regulators Tuesday.

The Richmond, Va.-based company paid Don L. Blankenship $1 million in base salary and a bonus of $300,000, the same as the previous year.

Blankenship, 59, also received a performance-based cash bonus of $6 million, up 15 percent year over year.

Furthermore, Blankenship received $457,129 in perks, including $198,890 for personal use of the company jet, $152,642 for housing and maintenance costs, and dividend payouts of $10,570 on restricted stock.

But the bulk of Blankenship’s compensation came in the form of stock- and option-based awards valued at $11.9 million when they were granted in 2008, down 29 percent from similar awards granted during the previous year.

However, the stock awards granted in 2008 are currently almost worthless due to a drop in the company’s share price since then. The exercise price on about $2.2 million worth of options is $19.50, above the stock’s Monday closing share price of $12.97.

The Associated Press compensation formula is designed to isolate the value the company’s board placed on the executive’s total compensation package during the last fiscal year. It includes salary, bonus, performance-related bonuses, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

The calculations don’t include changes in the present value of pension benefits, and they sometimes differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which reflect the size of the accounting charge taken for the executive’s compensation in the previous fiscal year.

According to Massey Energy’s filing, the compensation committee benchmarks its executive pay practices against a group of companies that includes Arch Coal Inc., El Paso Corp. and Steel Dynamics Inc.

The committee also has established a guideline for Blankenship to own shares having a value of five times his base salary in order to align his interests with those of shareholders.

In 2008, Massey earned $56.2 million or 68 cents per share, compared with $94.1 million, or $1.17 per share, the previous year. Last year’s results included a pre-tax litigation charge of $250.1 million.

The stock fell 61 percent in 2008 to end the year at $13.79.