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Deere CEO's Income Tripes During First Year

Mon, 01/17/2011 - 3:32am
Josh Funk, AP Business Writer

The compensation for Deere & Co.'s CEO nearly tripled in 2010 as Samuel Allen completed his first full year in the top job at the world's largest maker of agricultural equipment, but Allen's $12.3 million compensation remains less than his predecessor received in 2009.

Predecessor Robert Lane received compensation worth $14 million in his last year leading the company.

Allen, who also serves as chairman of Deere, which is based in Moline, Ill., took over as CEO in August 2009 — two months before Deere's fiscal year ended — and received compensation worth $4.3 million for that year.

His 2010 compensation is a better measure of what he'll receive leading Deere.

Besides agricultural equipment, Deere also makes construction and forestry equipment, such as backhoes, excavators, riding mowers and leaf blowers.

Strong U.S. farm income helped Deere more than double its profits last year. The company known for its green-and-yellow machinery earned $1.865 billion, or $4.35 per share, in fiscal 2010. That's up from $873.5 million, or $2.06 per share, in 2009. Revenue rose to $26 billion in 2010 from $23.1 billion a year ago.

The company's board said in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday that Allen's compensation remains well below that of top executives at similar companies. The board says it expects Allen's pay to wind up closer to the median of Deere's peer companies once he's been in the job longer.

Allen's salary grew to $1.2 million in 2010 from the previous year's nearly $800,000 salary. But most of his pay came in the form of incentive pay, stock grants and stock options.

Allen received incentive pay of $5.3 million in 2010, up from $1.6 million the previous year because the company beat the board's performance goals. He also received stock options and restricted stock grants worth more than $5.6 million in 2010, up from $1.6 million in 2009.

He got $187,941 in perks and other items like use of the company aircraft. Most of that figure covered contributions to a retirement account.

The Associated Press calculations of total pay include executives' salary, bonus, incentives, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards at the time they are 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.

Deere will hold its annual shareholder meeting on Feb. 23 at the company's headquarters.

Shareholders will have an opportunity to voice their approval or disapproval in an advisory vote on Deere's executive compensation policies. They will also be asked to elect four directors and endorse the company's auditor.

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