At first glance, it seems like a strong vote of confidence—but a closer look at Marshall’s employment agreement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission suggests he’s hedged his bets. Marshall will receive a signing bonus of $250,000—more than twice what he’ll need to buy the stock—plus up to $100,000 in moving expenses (he currently lives near Minneapolis). And while Jones had options to buy Borders stock at $17.56 a share, Marshall’s options are priced at just 57˘. With the stock trading at around 62˘ a share in January, he’s already a bit ahead. And Marshall’s $750,000-a-year salary is very well protected: even if he, too, is booted or the company changes hands, he’s guaranteed most of what he’d earn under the three-year agreement. It looks as though Borders’s new leader is arriving with his golden parachute packed.
[Originally published in February, 2009.]