The committee, Longfield and G. William Minner Jr. approved the pay on March 16. On February 21, Longfield wrote a letter of resignation effective March 21 that contained his statement. The new executives who were named on February are CEO Nicole Ossenfort, COO Shaun York and chief strategy officer Ryan Dodson.
The base salaries were $400,000 for Ossenfort, $300,000 for York and $300,000 for Dodson. Liberty hired compensation consulting firm, Pearl Meyer and said it would consider all elements of compensation, such as base salary, bonus, incentive and equity compensation, following the Compensation Committee’s review of the findings of Pearl Meyer’s recommendations.
The new executives are viewed as allies of chairman and founder John Hewitt, who was fired as CEO on September 5 after an investigation.
At that time, the board approved retention agreements to encourage key executives to stay. Those were CFO Kathleen E. Donovan; Vanessa M. Szajnoga, VP and general counsel; and Richard G. Artese, chief information officer. Michael S. Piper, VP of financial products, would have been eligible for the retention agreement but resigned instead. The board also elevated COO Ed Brunot to the post of CEO at the same time. She was replaced by Nicholas Bates. KPMG resigned as Liberty’s outside auditor at the same time, citing its concerned about the “tone at the top” set by Hewitt.
However, Hewitt, sole owner of Class B shares, has the ability to name the board and when he replaced two independent board members, Donovan submitted her resignation. She was replaced by Nicholas Bates. The new officers were named in February and Szajnoga and Artese were fired, along with Oscar Aujero, VP of operations, Bob Sage, regional stores director.
Minner replaced Ossenfort on the board after she was named to head the company.