September 18th, 2013
By John Clark
A pending divorce has forced Best Buy CEO Hubery Joly to sell more than $10 million worth of stock in his company to cover the cost of divorce, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Typically, this sort of information wouldnâ€™t be available to the public, as most public figures prefer to settle their divorces out of court in order to keep their personal information private.
This is why many famous celebrities turn to divorce mediation to settle their disputes behind closed doors, rather than in open court in front of the public eye.
But Joly is in a unique position because, thanks to the terms of his employment agreement, he had to report the sale of $10.4 million in Best Buy stock to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), which monitors the sale of stock by corporate officials.
This week, company spokesman Matt Furman took a page out of the public relations textbook and tried to get ahead of the news by formally announcing the sale of a significant amount of Jolyâ€™s stock in the company in a press conference.
â€œThis sale reflects only one thing: Mr. Joly has recently gone through a divorce and needs to sell a portion of his holdings in order to cover the costs of that unfortunate event. He remains heavily invested in Best Buy,â€ said Joly.
Interestingly, Joly had to receive a special waiver from Best Buyâ€™s board of directors to make the sale because his employment contract prevents him from making such a large sale of stock without the boardâ€™s permission.
And when the company filed its report with the SEC giving notice of the unique sale, it made a point to say that â€œall other termsâ€ of the employment agreement â€œremain unchanged and in full force and effect.â€
In recent years, companies have made stock options larger portions of executive salaries, in an effort to tie the performance of executives to their compensation. But Jolyâ€™s costly divorce threw a wrench into this practice, at least with respect to the Best Buy CEO.
Sources say Joly sold 100,686 shares of Best Buy worth nearly $4 million, and also exercised 350,467 stock options that were worth roughly $6.5 million.
According to reports, Joly, who filed for divorce in his native country of France, still owns enough shares of Best Buy to meet the companyâ€™s stock ownership guidelines for its corporate executives.
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