MicroStrategy Inc. paid big bonuses to several top executives for last year, but Eric F. Brown, who was brought in to help lead the company back from the brink of collapse in 2000, did not share in the largesse, according to a report the McLean-based software company filed this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Chairman and chief executive Michael J. Saylor received a bonus of $954,775 on top of a salary of $375,000, and Chief Operating Officer Sanju K. Bansal was paid a bonus of $509,213 on top of a salary of $200,000, but Brown received no bonus, the report said. His annual salary was $250,000.
Brown resigned as president and chief financial officer effective Dec. 31 to take a more lucrative job as chief financial officer of McAfee Inc., which agreed to pay him a signing bonus of $750,000.
MicroStrategy director Stuart B. Ross said Brown "deserves a lot of credit" for the company's accomplishments in 2004, but that didn't mean he was entitled to a bonus.
"I don't think it's a matter of earning," Ross said, adding that it did not make sense to "give away shareholders' money to somebody who's already gone."
The MicroStrategy board's compensation committee reported that in determining bonuses for Saylor and Bansal, it considered the company's operating income and the extent to which they "contributed to the overall performance of the Company" last year.
Brown helped MicroStrategy recover from an accounting scandal in 2000 and a plunge in its stock price.
Ross said Brown reported directly to the board's audit committee under a settlement with the SEC but was going to be reporting to Saylor.
"The SEC made Eric report to the audit committee, and Mike [Saylor] found that very difficult," Ross said. Brown "liked reporting to the audit committee," and with that arrangement ended or about to end, "Eric decided he could go somewhere else," Ross said.
Brown did not return calls, and a company spokesman declined to comment on his compensation.
Ross said he would not stand for reelection to the board at the shareholders' meeting next month for personal reasons and because the Sarbanes-Oxley Act adopted after accounting scandals at Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. made being a director less enjoyable.
Staff writer Ellen McCarthy contributed to this report.