Out at Home Depot

Behind the flameout of controversial CEO Bob Nardelli
Nardelli steadily drove up both sales and margins until this year Bloomberg News

In the end it came down to the headstrong CEO's refusal to accept even a symbolic reduction in his stock package. Home Depot Inc.'s board of directors wanted their controversial chief executive, Robert L. Nardelli, to amend his whopping compensation deals for recent years. After he pulled down $38.1 million from his last yearly contract, angry investors were promising an ugly fight at the company's annual meeting in May. Nardelli agreed that he would continue to receive a guaranteed $3 million bonus each year, but not more. But that's as far as he would go. When board members asked him to more closely tie his future stock awards to shareholder gains, he refused, according to people familiar with the matter. Nardelli has complained for years that share price is the one measure of company performance that he can't control. After weeks of secret negotiations, things came to a head at a board meeting on Jan. 2, leading to Home Depot's stunning announcement the next day that the company and Nardelli had "mutually agreed" that he would resign.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.