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Originally published June 25, 2011 at 9:56 PM | Page modified June 27, 2011 at 6:19 PM

CEOs of Northwest companies pocketed more money in 2010 for reasons other than performance

Some Northwest CEOs got big raises in 2010 for reasons other than improved company financial performance.

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Some Northwest CEOs got big raises in 2010 for reasons other than stellar company financial performance.

• Everett-based Intermec, which makes bar-code scanners and other devices that help track inventory, lost money and saw its share price slip last year. Yet President and CEO Patrick Byrne's reported compensation jumped 69 percent, to more than $3.5 million.

In proxy filings, the company said he got a raise, in part, to make up for income he had received on paper in previous years that never materialized. For instance, a restricted stock grant valued at $755,000 when it was awarded in 2008 never vested because it was linked to financial-performance targets that Intermec missed.

That meant Byrne's compensation was no longer competitive, Intermec said, and keeping him was a concern.

It also said Byrne should be rewarded for long-term initiatives to put Intermec on firmer footing that may cost money now.

Shareholders seemed to agree. More than 70 percent approved the company's executive-compensation package in a nonbinding "say on pay" vote last month.

Intermec restored a previous 10 percent cut in Byrne's base salary and raised it another 3 percent. The bulk of his reported pay hike, however, came in company stock and stock-option awards.

Some of that is tied to performance. But, in contrast to past years, most of it is stock that will vest over the next three years regardless of how Intermec performs, as long as Byrne remains CEO.

• CEO Ryan Wuerch, of Bellevue mobile-data company Motricity, and Chairman, President and CEO Gregory Demopulos of Seattle biotech Omeros, got two of the biggest raises in the area last year — more than 300 percent each.

Omeros went public in 2009, Motricity last year. The companies' proxy statements indicate their CEOs' compensation was increased, in part, to reflect the increased responsibility that entails.

But the raises may not pan out: The bulk of Wuerch's and Demopulos' reported pay hikes came as stock options that, at least for now, are "underwater" — worth less than they would cost to exercise.

• President and CEO Granger Cobb, of Seattle senior-living company Emeritus, saw his reported compensation jump 123 percent, from $1.34 million to $2.98 million.

But the company's proxy statement reveals most of that increase wasn't really pay. After Cobb became co-CEO and was required to relocate to Seattle, Emeritus bought his California home in 2009 for $3.4 million, then resold it last year for $600,000 less.

Emeritus included that loss, plus money it spent maintaining and repairing the house, in Cobb's reported 2010 compensation. Total value: an even $1 million.

— Eric Pryne

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