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Staples CEO Sargent's Fiscal 2011 Pay Drops 42% To $8.9 Million

By John Kell Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Total pay for Staples Inc.'s (SPLS) Chairman and Chief Executive Ronald Sargent dropped 42% to $8.9 million in fiscal 2011 from the prior year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The office-supplies retailer disclosed Sargent received a base salary of nearly $1.2 million, up 2.5% from fiscal 2010. He received restricted stock awards valued at almost $2.3 million at the grant date last year, far lower than $7.7 million the prior year. Stock option awards were flat at $3.4 million. Total pay for Chief Financial Officer John Mahoney slipped 36% to $4.1 million, while the figure declined 37% to $3.9 million for Chief Operating Officer Michael Miles Jr. The pay declines come after the company's stock stumbled 39% lower in 2011, though Staples has rallied a bit of late, to be up 16% this year and outperforming the broader market. Office suppliers like Staples, the largest chain in the U.S., are operating in an intensely competitive retail environment, a challenge compounded by declining demand for office products as governments contend with budget cuts and traditional supplies increasingly evolve into electronic forms. In February, Staples reported its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose 3.2%, held back by a weak performance abroad, which prompted layoffs in the key weak spots of Europe and Australia. -By John Kell, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2480; john.kell@dowjones.com

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