Wendy’s Paid Chairman Peltz $657,514 for Security in 2012

Wendy’s Co., the second-largest U.S. hamburger chain, paid $657,514 for Chairman Nelson Peltz’s personal security last year.

Peltz, the founder and chief executive officer of New York-based Trian Fund Management LP, has received more than $1.7 million from the company in the past three years for security, including guards and equipment, according to Wendy’s proxy statements filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“It’s not the norm,” said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a management professor at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. “For somebody who has a domestic portfolio of many companies, it’s much harder to justify this.”

Jonathan Doorley, a spokesman for Trian who works for Sard Verbinnen & Co., declined to comment.

Peltz, 70, has been on the company’s board since April 1993 and served as non-executive chairman since June 2007, according to the company’s website. As of April 1, he owned 4.1 percent and Trian owned 21 percent of Wendy’s, making him the largest shareholder. Peltz also is a director at Ingersoll-Rand Plc, Legg Mason Inc. and HJ Heinz Co.

“In connection with Mr. Peltz’s service as non-executive Chairman, and as a result of the Company’s review of potential security concerns, the Board of Directors has approved payments for certain security services, security personnel and residential security equipment provided to Mr. Peltz and members of his immediate family,” Wendy’s said in the most recent proxy filing on April 8.

Fast Food

The fast-food chain pays for Peltz’s security “because he serves as non-executive chairman of the Wendy’s Co.,” Bob Bertini, a Wendy’s spokesman, said in an interview. He declined to specify what the compensation covers.

“We don’t discuss our safety and security,” Bertini said in response to questions about security for other executives.

Peltz received $807,985 in total compensation from Wendy’s in 2012, a 3.2 percent increase from the prior year. Wendy’s paid him $638,911 in 2011 and $444,119 in 2010 for security.

Executives at other companies have received money for personal protection. Former J.C. Penney Co. CEO Ron Johnson received $29,889 for a home security system last year, according to the Plano, Texas-based company’s latest proxy. The retailer requires that its CEO participate in a so-called Key Associate Protection Program intended to safeguard the CEO and immediate family members, according the the filing.

Wendy’s has recently introduced new items such as flatbread sandwiches, as well as a mid-tier priced menu, to attract American consumers. The company is also remodeling restaurants with a more upscale look that includes fireplaces and booth seating. The Dublin, Ohio-based company’s shares have advanced 21 percent this year, compared with a 12 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. The shares rose 1.8 percent to $5.67 yesterday in New York.

At the end of last year, there were 6,186 Wendy’s stores in North America, of which 77 percent were franchised.

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