Aryzta CEO to lose out on stock options granted last year

Owen Killian received 410,000 stock options in same week he was forced to sell shares

Aryzta's departing chief executive Owen Killian is set to lose out on 410,000 stock options granted to him last year around the same time as he was forced to sell two-thirds of his shares as their value plummeted.

Under the terms of the options granted on March 15th, 2016, Mr Killian would have had to remain in continuous employment for three years to benefit.

The options were awarded on the same day the chief executive completed the sale of 426,250 shares, raising about €16 million, in a move triggered by weakness in the stock at the time impacting the collateral value of the shares.

Mr Killian, who has been with the company and its predecessor IAWS for almost four decades, has a further 750,000 of fully vested stock options which are currently under water. He can convert 300,000 of these into shares at 37.23 Swiss francs (€35), with the remainder at almost 40 francs. However, the shares are currently trading below both exercise prices, at 33.08 francs.



Aryzta said on Tuesday that Mr Killian, the group's chief financial officer Patrick McEniff and chief executive of the Americas region John Yamin have all tendered their resignation after a series of profit warnings and earnings reports that disappointed the market. They will all leave the company at the end of its financial year in July.

Companies typically give employees a period of grace during which they can exercise stock options after they leave a company. A spokesman for Aryzta declined to comment on possible restrictions attached to the fully vested stock held by the CEO and the other departing executives.

Aryzta’s annual report gives less information on employment contracts for executive management than the food and agri-business that it spun off in 2007 as a separate, publicly quoted company – Origin Enterprises.

Market value

Origin, which has a market value of a little over a quarter of Aryzta’s €2.84 billion, highlighted in its annual report that its chief executive and chief financial officer each have six months’ notice periods in their contracts, while its corporate development director must give two years’ notice.

Aryzta’s latest annual report says that employment contracts for senior executives have maximum notice periods of 12 months and a restriction, introduced in 2014, from being involved in a competing business for a year thereafter.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times