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J.B. Hunt CEO John Roberts Paid $4M in 2013

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John N. Roberts III, the president and CEO of J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell, was paid slightly more than $4 million in 2013 and collected another $1.3 million from exercising stock options.

Roberts’ pay was an increase from the $3.3 million he was paid in 2012, and he was J.B. Hunt’s highest paid executive, according to the annual proxy statement the transportation company released Thursday.

While his base salary was increased by more than $40,000 last year, to $642,692, the bulk of the increase came in the form of stock: $3.2 million worth.

That was the general pattern with executive pay at J.B. Hunt last year: salaries stable to slightly higher, smaller cash bonuses but big jumps in the value of stock awards, thanks to the runup in the stock’s value.

J.B. Hunt stock (Nasdaq: JBHT) started 2012 in the mid-40s but ended 2013 in the high 70s, topping out just below $80 in January 2014 before retreating to about $72 as of Friday.

Kirk Thompson, chairman of the company’s board of directors, was paid $2.16 million in 2013, down from $2.92 million in 2012. He took home an additional $3.2 million from exercised stock options in 2013.

Thompson’s compensation dropped from $2.9 million to $2.1 million, stemming in part from a decrease in salary from $542,308 to $492,308 and from a change in the company’s policy on paying cash bonuses to the chairman.

Roberts’ pay increase was not the largest among the executives listed on the proxy statement. Terrence Matthews, who became executive vice president and president of the company’s intermodal division, at the beginning of 2012, received total compensation of $3.7 million last year, an increase of almost almost $2.5 million. But as with others, most of the increase came in stock awards — $3.23 million worth in Matthews’ case.

CFO David Mee’s pay went from $1.2 million to $2.6 million from 2012 to 2013, thanks to $2.15 million worth of stock. Executive Vice President Craig Harper’s base pay increased by only $3,500, but his total compensation grew from $1.2 million in 2012 to $1.7 million in 2013.

Other gains realized by exercising stock options last year:

  • Ÿ Mee, $935,446;
  • Ÿ Matthews, $1.62 million; and
  • Ÿ Harper, $1.41 million.

The proxy announced that the annual shareholders meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on April 24 at J.B. Hunt’s headquarters in Lowell. The agenda will include the re-election of the nine current members of the board of directors, a routine advisory vote on the company’s compensation plan for executives and the reappointment of Ernst & Young LLP as outside auditor.

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