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CEO of Pinellas company says no to extra pay

Margie Manning

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Michael Benstock, CEO Of Superior Group of Companies, turned down more than $400,000 in cash incentive pay in 2018.

Benstock decided not to take his non-equity incentive plan compensation because other executives did not get bonuses, Superior said in a proxy filed March 22 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

As a result, Benstock was paid $1.9 million in 2018, 36 percent less than his total compensation in 2017 of just over $3 million.

Superior (Nasdaq: SGC), based in Seminole and formerly named Superior Uniform Group, provides uniforms and image apparel, as well as promotional products and branded merchandise, and operates call centers. One of the larger public companies headquartered in the Tampa Bay area, Superior reported $17 million in net income, or $1.10 a share, on net sales of $346.4 million in 2018.

Incentive compensation is tied to net earnings per share adjusted for certain items and achievement of individual goals, the proxy said. From time to time, the company also awards discretionary bonuses to executives and other employees.

While all of the executives named in the proxy received non-equity incentive compensation, only Benstock and Andrew Demott Jr., chief operating officer, received bonuses in 2018, according to the proxy.

“In light of Company performance affected the annual incentive bonus payouts for other employees of the company, Mr. M. Benstock elected to forgo 100% of his 2018 non-equity incentive plan compensation  (i.e., the entire $414,735 earned by him for 2018) and Mr. Demott elected to forgo 51% of his 2018 non-equity incentive plan compensation (i.e., $125,000 of the $245,241 earned by him for 2018),” the proxy said.

While the move is unusual, a handful of other executives have taken similar steps. For instance, the CEO of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, turned down a bonus in 2018 after the airline linked incentives to customer service improvements, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Even after turning down the cash incentive, Benstock made 54 times that of the annual compensation of Superior’s median employee in the United States, and 200 times as much annual compensation as off all of Superior’s workers. More than two-thirds of the company’s 2,906 workers are based outside of the U.S.

Other Superior executives named in the proxy and their total compensation actually paid for 2018 are:

Michael Attinella, chief financial officer, $156,717

Andrew Demott Jr., chief operating officer $1.18 million

Dominic Leide, president, The Office Gurus, $526,162

Philip Koosed, president, BAMKO LLC, $431,327

Superior shareholders will cast advisory “say on pay” votes at the company’s annual meeting May 3. About 81 percent of the votes cast approved executive compensation at the company’s 2016 annual meeting, the last time Superior held a vote on executive pay.

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