Chiquita CEO Could Get $15.4 Million in Post-Acquisition Payout

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer/TNS) -

Chiquita CEO Ed Lonergan could be in line for $15.4 million worth of cash and stock payouts if he’s terminated after two Brazilian firms acquire the Charlotte-based banana company, according to securities filings Tuesday.

The required disclosure of “golden parachute compensation” shows most of Lonergan’s compensation would come from unvested shares of stock and options. Priced at $7.68 each, Lonergan’s stock options would yield him a payout of $9.8 million, given orange-juice-maker Cutrale and banking conglomerate the Safra Group’s $14.50-per-share offer.

Lonergan would also be entitled to $1.9 million in cash, equal to his base salary and his target bonus. To receive the full $15.4 million, Lonergan would need to be terminated after the companies close the acquisition. The $681 million deal could be closed by the end of the year.

Other top executives at Chiquita could also receive big payouts, also mostly made up of stock and options. Chief Operating Officer Brian Kocher could receive $7.6 million, Chief People Officer Kevin Holland could receive $6.3 million, Chief Legal Officer James Thompson could receive $6.2 million and Chief Financial Officer Rick Frier could receive $4.8 million.

Chiquita employs about 320 people in Charlotte. The company hasn’t said what it plans to do with its Charlotte headquarters after the acquisitions by the Brazilian firms. A spokesperson for the Brazilian companies has said they recognize “Chiquita’s strengths include a highly talented and engaged team of employees in Charlotte,” but declined to comment further.