Keyw’s chief executive says no to bonus over drop in share price


Leonard E. Moodispaw, president and chief executive of cybersecurity firm Keyw, in his office at the company’s headquarters in Hanover. Moodispaw declined his 2011 bonus of $100,000. (Evy Mages/For Capital Business)

With his company’s stock currently trading below its initial offering price, one contracting executive is declining his 2011 bonus of $100,000.

Leonard E. Moodispaw, president and chief executive of Hanover-based cybersecurity firm Keyw, said he opted not to accept the bonus offered him by the company’s board — calculated using a formula — to show his commitment in improving share value.

“My view of the ... bonus was not that we had a bad year, it was that we did an [initial public offering] a year ago at $10 per share,” he said. “When our share price — no matter what the reason — is under $10 per share, I don’t think I should take a bonus because I think my interests should be aligned with the shareholders.”

Keyw, which Moodispaw founded in mid-2008 and took public in 2010, has been trading at about $7.50 a share.

The company’s leadership has always been un­or­tho­dox. A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission described Moodispaw as a Key West lover who “is still growing older but not up,” and the company has hosted an investor day called “Embrace the Parrot,” a reference to Moodispaw’s love of Jimmy Buffett.

A bobblehead of Len Moodispaw, a gift from a colleague, sits in his office. (Evy Mages/For Capital Business)

He’s no stranger to government contracting. Moodispaw previously led the Columbia-based government contracting firm Essex, which was purchased by Northrop Grumman.

Mark Borges, a principal at executive compensation consulting firm Compensia, said Moodispaw’s move could become more common.

“There’s been a lot of heat in the past few years, particularly after the economic decline in 2008, 2009, for companies to show a stronger correlation between pay [and] performance,” he said. Companies are “trying to appease their shareholders and kind of reinforce the message that if we don’t perform well, we’re not going to reward our executives.”

Moodispaw stressed that he’s not disappointed with the company’s performance. Keyw last week reported profit of $535,000 (2 cents a share) for the year, down from $10.9 million (51 cents) in 2010. Revenue grew 76.5 percent to $190.6 million. The company said accounting related to its acquisitions boosted 2010 profit while reducing its 2011 income.

Moodispaw has accepted bonuses before, including a more than $130,000 bonus last year. In 2009, according to an SEC filing, Keyw paid him a $2.1 million cash bonus so he could buy 200,000 shares of stock and warrants to purchase another 100,000 shares, and cover any tax payments.

The company said the award was meant in part to recognize his work building the company and was made after undertaking a compensation study comparing his package to that provided by peer companies.

Moodispaw said the company’s other employees received their bonuses this year, though some executives saw their amounts decreased.

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