Office Depot this week disclosed that board member Neil Austrian will receive a $200,000 monthly salary and 400,000 in stock options at an exercise price of $4.43 in exchange for his service as interim CEO following the departure last week of former chairman and CEO Steve Odland. Austrian is a long time Office Depot board member whom the company has called upon previously to fill the void created when the company’s top executive resigned and a replacement was not readily available.
In October 2004, Austrian was named interim CEO following the resignation of former chairman and CEO Bruce Nelson, which resulted in a five month search resulting in the hiring of Odland. Back then, Austrian received a monthly salary of $170,000, but was guaranteed a minimum of six months pay in addition to a $1 million restricted stock award based on the value of the company’s share price at the time. Austrian was also granted a $1,500 car allowance, a furnished residence and the use of a corporate jet so he could commute between his other homes and Office Depot’s headquarters.